People watch stocks for different reasons -- they're waiting for a dip in price, watching for a specific catalyst, gathering all the news and information that might affect stocks they already own, or considering a sell. Regardless of their motivation, we can better understand market sentiment by seeing who's watching what. With the Fool's free My Watchlist service, we have tens of thousands of people telling us the businesses that have, for whatever reason, piqued their interest.

The most-watched food retailer stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Costco Wholesale (Nasdaq: COST) is above the rest in terms of watch interest, the percentage of people keeping an eye on food retailer stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. And for good reason. As DigitalPaladine wrote in November:

Who doesn't love Costco. I spend more money in that store than any other establishment. Excellent products, Excellent service, Excellent prices. Great business model. Lots of corporate customers. Highly brand able, excellent reputation

Here are the rest of the top 15 most-watched companies in the industry with their watch interest along with the stocks' CAPS rating to show the sentiment of our investing community.

 

Company

Market Cap (Millions)

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Watch Interest

1

Costco Wholesale

$31,410

*****

46.9%

2

Whole Foods Market

$11,169

***

18.9%

3

Wal-Mart Stores

$186,150

***

14.8%

4

Sysco (NYSE: SYY)

$16,293

*****

5.6%

5

Walgreen (NYSE: WAG)

$36,832

****

3.0%

6

SUPERVALU (NYSE: SVU)

$1,914

****

2.7%

7

CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS)

$46,244

****

1.9%

8

The Fresh Market

$1,809

****

1.0%

9

Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD)

$961

*

1.0%

10

China Nepstar Chain Drugstore (NYSE: NPD)

$393

****

0.7%

11

Kroger

$15,013

***

0.6%

12

BJ's Wholesale Club

$2,643

****

0.6%

13

PriceSmart

$1,069

*****

0.4%

14

Safeway

$8,531

**

0.3%

15

Winn-Dixie Stores

$383

***

0.3%

Source: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on industry stalwarts like Wal-Mart or are watching an up-and-comer like The Fresh Market, it pays to watch. We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock-tracking service. Click here to start now.

Dan Dzombak's musings and articles he finds interesting can be found on his Twitter account: @DanDzombak.

Costco, Sysco, and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fresh Market is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Costco and Whole Foods are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Wal-Mart is a Motley Fool Global Gains pick. Sysco and Wal-Mart are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on SUPERVALU. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Wal-Mart. The Fool owns shares of Costco, SUPERVALU, and Wal-Mart. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.