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 retail stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Target (NYSE: TGT) is above the rest in terms of watch interest, the percentage of people keeping an eye on retail stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. And for good reason. As CAPS member tekennedy wrote in February:

Target is like Walmart with less of a competitive advantage (as they have less of a scale advantage) but with more growth potential. Target will need to continue to differentiate their offering, which is more difficult than offering a low price and makes their competitive advantage more difficult to maintain. Despite this, I expect the company to be able to grow at a high rate of incremental return on investment and maintain their above average returns on equity. At the current price Target should outperform the S&P over the longterm.

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

 

Company

Market Cap (millions)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Watch Interest

1

Target

$35,318

***

28.0%

2

Macy's

$10,726

*

14.5%

3

Family Dollar Stores (NYSE: FDO)

$6,351

****

11.3%

4

Nordstrom

$10,010

**

6.5%

5

Kohl's

$15,764

**

6.1%

6

Dollar Tree (Nasdaq: DLTR)

$6,928

***

5.6%

7

Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD)

$8,692

*

5.1%

8

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)

$8,492

*

4.8%

9

Dollar General

$11,048

**

4.5%

10

Big Lots

$3,282

**

2.9%

11

Saks

$1,952

**

2.1%

12

99¢ Only Stores (NYSE: NDN)

$1,383

**

1.8%

13

Dillard's

$2,567

*

1.6%

14

Tuesday Morning (Nasdaq: TUES)

$215

***

1.3%

15

Retail Ventures

$944

*

1.3%

Source: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Target or are watching an up-and-comer like Retail Ventures, 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.

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