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 silver industry, watch interest is the percentage of people keeping an eye on silver stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. By looking at what stocks catch people's interest the most in an industry, you can get ahead of the curve by finding hot stocks that you might have otherwise overlooked. The industry has been chugging along, and investors who understand the advantages of dividends have been reaping the rewards.

The most-watched Silver stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW) is above the rest in terms of watch interest and for good reason. As CAPS player brycetill wrote in May:

14 billion market cap with only 25 employees! Thats efficiency! [Silver Wheaton] average sale price for silver was [$20] for the year of 2010. You can safely assume their average cost for 2011 to be around $40. Pretty easy way to double revenue. With [Silver Wheaton's] outlook for silver production for the next 5 ears and an average silver price of 40 it represents a 25% CAGR for the next 5 years. Imagine if silver goes to $100! Look for [Silver Wheaton]to beat next earnings as i believe they got lucky and "had" to sell almost all of their Q1 silver around the time silver was trading between $40-49. [Silver Wheaton] is my largest holding!

Here are the rest of the top seven 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

Watch Interest

1

Silver Wheaton

$13,991

****

32.8%

2

Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL)

$2,359

****

13.7%

3

Endeavour Silver (NYSE: EXK)

$899

***

9.9%

4

Great Panther Silver (NYSE: GPL)

$525

***

8.1%

5

Coeur d'Alene Mines (NYSE: CDE)

$2,533

****

7.7%

6

Silvercorp Metals (NYSE: SVM)

$2,050

****

5.7%

7

Pan American Silver (Nasdaq: PAAS)

$3,600

****

5.4%

Source: Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Silver Wheaton or are watching an up-and-comer like Great Panther 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.

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

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