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 computers and peripherals industry, watch interest is the percentage of people keeping an eye on computer stocks in general who are specifically watching each company. By looking at what stocks people are most interested in within an industry, you can get ahead of the curve by finding hot stocks that you might have otherwise overlooked.

The most-watched computers and peripherals stock is ...
Looking at the aggregate data, we see that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) is above the rest in terms of watch interest, and for good reason. As CAPS player divinezone wrote last week:

This stock nearly doubled its YoY revenue in its most recent quarter and still trades at an astoundingly low 15x trailing price to earnings. I understand that Jobs' health is an issue, but for the stock to be discounted to this level is an overreaction. In the long run, investors react to one thing, and that is earnings. Apple has plenty of those, and with a global personal computer market share in the low single digits, it has plenty of room to expand internationally and grow earnings exponentially.

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



Market Cap (Millions)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Watch Interest

1 Apple $363,948 *** 67.2%
2 China Digital TV (NYSE: STV) $297 **** 7.6%
3 Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) $71,102 *** 4.8%
4 EMC (NYSE: EMC) $51,522 ***** 4.5%
5 Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) $29,967 ** 2.8%
6 SanDisk (Nasdaq: SNDK) $10,140 **** 2.2%
7 Seagate Technology (NYSE: STX) $5,488 **** 1.4%
8 NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) $17,096 *** 1.2%
9 Western Digital (NYSE: WDC) $7,704 **** 1.1%
10 STEC (Nasdaq: STEC) $527 *** 1.0%
11 Quantum (NYSE: QTM) $548 ** 0.7%
12 Logitech International (Nasdaq: LOGI) $1,540 **** 0.4%
13 Diebold (NYSE: DBD) $1,875 *** 0.4%
14 Silicon Graphics International (NYSE: SGI) $427 ** 0.4%
15 Synaptics (Nasdaq: SYNA) $844 ***** 0.4%

Sources: The Motley Fool, Motley Fool CAPS.

Whether you're keeping an eye on the industry stalwarts like Apple or are watching an up-and-comer like China Digital TV, it pays to watch. We can help you keep tabs on your companies with My Watchlist, our free, personalized stock-tracking service. Get started now!