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 life sciences stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Illumina (Nasdaq: ILMN) leads the rest in terms of watch interest -- the percentage of people keeping an eye on life sciences stocks in general who are specifically watching each company.

As CAPS All-Star RMITRA757 wrote in February:

Next generation sequencing is changing the field of Genetics. Look for the technology to move from the research market to the clinical market in the next 2-5 years. This will led to 20% growth of the market for many years. Illumina is the clear leader in the field, good margins, good earnings growth.

Here are the rest of the top 15 most-watched companies in the industry; their watch interest levels; and the stocks' CAPS rating, revealing the sentiment of our investing community.

 

Company

Market Cap (millions)

CAPS Rating

Watch Interest

1

Illumina

$8,833

****

39.4%

2

Techne (Nasdaq: TECH)

$2,736

*****

28.6%

3

Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A)

$15,648

***

8.5%

4

Pharmaceutical Product Development

$3,337

*****

6.7%

5

Kendle International

$156

****

1.9%

6

Thermo Fisher Scientific

$21,452

****

1.7%

7

Sequenom (Nasdaq: SQNM)

$656

***

1.2%

8

Charles River Laboratories International

$2,285

***

1.1%

9

Waters

$8,219

****

1.0%

10

Life Technologies

$9,504

***

0.9%

11

Affymetrix (Nasdaq: AFFX)

$365

***

0.8%

12

Furiex Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: FURX)

$166

****

0.7%

13

eResearchTechnology (NYSE: ERT)

$317

***

0.6%

14

Covance

$3,545

***

0.5%

15

Mettler-Toledo International

$5,658

****

0.4%

Source: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Illumina, or watching an up-and-comer like Kendle International, 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.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Illumina, Pharmaceutical Product Development, and Techne are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Charles River Laboratories International and Kendle International. 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.