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.

With this data we have come up with a new metric, watch interest, to inform investors what stocks their peers keep tabs on in each industry. In the case of the gold industry, watch interest is the percentage of people keeping an eye on gold stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. By looking at what stocks people are most interested in an industry, you can get ahead of the curb by finding hot stocks that you might have otherwise overlooked. The industry has doing well as gold prices continue to rise over fears of financial meltdown around the world.

The most-watched gold stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) is above the rest in terms of watch interest and for good reason. As CAPS player epiphanystock wrote in December:

Low cost copper producer, moly and gold are smaller yields but riding high prices and soon to come higher industrial demand. Copper prices haven't even been affected yet by any real construction growth. When that begins to trend upward, copper will hit new, sustainable highs. FCX multiple will expand to the 16-18x range. 

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 (in millions)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Watch Interest

1

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold

$50,492

****

14.7%

2

Goldcorp (NYSE: GG)

$40,266

***

9.9%

3

Yamana Gold (NYSE: AUY)

$9,280

****

9.6%

4

AuRico Gold (NYSE: AUQ)

$1,960

****

6.2%

5

Northgate Minerals (NYSE: NXG)

$797

****

5.6%

6

Rubicon Minerals (NYSE: RBY)

$692

****

5.5%

7

Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM)

$26,783

***

5.3%

8

Thompson Creek (NYSE: TC)

$1,660

*****

5.3%

9

Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX)

$45,849

***

5.3%

10

NovaGold Resources (NYSE: NG)

$2,290

**

4.9%

11

Paramount Gold and Silver (NYSE: PZG)

$445

***

3.7%

12

Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE: AEM)

$10,506

****

3.0%

13

Golden Star Resources (NYSE: GSS)

$621

****

2.6%

14

New Gold (NYSE: NGD)

$4,665

***

2.6%

15

Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC)

$18,528

****

2.3%

Sources: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold or are watching an up-and-comer like Paramount Gold and Silver, 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.

If you are looking for more on gold stocks, click here to explore the 7 Secrets to Profitable Gold Investing or click here to review our Top 10 Gold Stocks for New Money Now.

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

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