It should surprise exactly no one that Corning (NYSE: GLW) attracts a lot of institutional and retail investor interest -- it's a $31 billion company that dates back to the Civil War era. What did surprise me, though, was its status as the No. 41 most-owned stock by investment clubs, as measured by the folks at Better Investing. If retail investors were high on the stock, it got me to thinking: What's the consensus sentiment view on Corning?

Turns out, the view is mixed. Let's have a look at a few of the key sentiment drivers.

1. Analyst opinion
Analysts like Corning. Data from Capital IQ captures their collective feeling:


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Twelve analysts have either a "buy" rating or an "outperform" on the stock -- the majority sentiment. A good portion (eight) of the analyst crowd deems the stock a neutral "hold," but there's only a single "sell," so we'll classify analyst sentiment as bullish.

2. Insider buying
Next, we'll look at insider buying and selling. Over the past year, Corning insiders have sold $64.9 million worth of their company stock. During the same time period, insiders bought $399,300 in Corning shares. (Data from Form4Oracle.)

It'd be nice to see more insider buying to balance out the selling, but it's important to remember that insiders sell stock for a whole host of reasons -- to pay for a house or tuition, to diversify assets, and so forth. Also, for a company with a $31 billion market cap, $64.5 million of net selling isn't at all that large in relative terms. For purposes of this exercise, we'll classify insider buying/selling as neutral-leaning-bearish.

3. Guru buying
Next, we'll look at "guru" ownership of the stock, according to GuruFocus.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, three gurus traded Corning -- all three were sellers. David Dreman and Dodge & Cox sold out of their stakes completely, while Ken Fisher reduced his position in the stock. In the previous quarter, the trend was more bullish, with two gurus buying Corning, versus a lone seller.

For the overall picture, though, we'll classify guru sentiment as bearish.

4. Retail investor community sentiment
For retail investor community sentiment, I turn to Motley Fool CAPS, our proprietary stock rating system. CAPS generates ratings on a one- to five-star scale, with five stars as the highest ranking, indicating that the Fool community believes in a stock's future. Corning has the highest possible rating, five stars.

5. Short-sellers
Next, we'll look at whether short-sellers are circling the stock. There are 32.5 million Corning shares sold short, according to Capital IQ. As a percentage of shares outstanding, that's a short interest of 2.1%. That's not at all high, and so for determining sentiment, we'll classify the low short interest as bullish.

6. Does Buffett own it?
This is the "cherry on top" test, and in this case, it's a no: Berkshire Hathaway does not own shares of Corning.

Adding it up
The consensus opinion on Corning is mixed. Analysts and the CAPS community have a favorable outlook on the stock, and in another positive sign, short-sellers are staying away. Gurus are bearish, and insiders are net sellers, even though the selling isn't that meaningful relative to Corning's overall size. The company also fails our cherry-on-top test -- Berkshire doesn't own shares.

Of course, you can't base an investment philosophy on who likes or dislikes the stock you own, and even a consensus bullish opinion can sometimes be a scary thing. Quoting Buffett: "A simple rule dictates my buying: Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful."

The purpose of this series of articles isn't to make a definitive buy-or-sell call on Corning. Rather, by looking at a stock's sentiment, the goal is to help you place your own opinion of it in a broader context.

One final thing: If you want to keep tabs on Corning's movements, and for more analysis on the company, make sure you add it to your Watchlist.