Let me get this out of the way right now: I'm neither short XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR) nor long Sirius Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:SIRI). But before we get to who is long and short on those stocks, let's set the stage, shall we?

It's one of the hottest questions among growth investors: XM or Sirius? Sirius has Stern; XM has Major League Baseball. XM just got upgraded by Bear Stearns; Sirius just found out that Ford (NYSE:F) would be cutting production and thereby decreasing the number of radios that will be installed in its vehicles. Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has been buying; XM insiders are squabbling. XM has more subscribers; Sirius has better growth rates. Neither, of course, has any profits.

So who thinks Sirius is a buy and XM is a sell?

Without further ado .
That investor goes by the handle dberson100. Who's dberson100? I have no idea, other than that he (or she) is a fairly high-rated investor in our Motley Fool CAPS database. What's CAPS? It's a community-intelligence database that ranks investors and their picks -- a system that helps us determine the best investors and the best stocks to buy.

And the community seems to agree with dberson100. Just take a look at the numbers.


Total Bulls

Total Bears

All-Star Bulls

All-Star Bears

XM Satellite Radio





Sirius Satellite Radio





Data from Motley Fool CAPS, as of market close Sept. 8, 2006.

While 64% of investors think XM is a winner going forward, consider that 74% of the best-rated investors -- a rating based on pick accuracy and market outperformance -- have called XM a clear-cut loser. The sentiment for Sirius, however, is quite different. On CAPS, 76% of investors think Sirius is a winner, as do 63% of our All-Stars.

What are the reasons for these differing opinions? Content and growth rates. While CAPS investors haven't posted many positive things about either company's financial statements, the Sirius bulls never tire of pointing out that their content is better and that their company is growing faster. XM bulls, on the other hand, don't really have much to say at all. While they agree that satellite radio is a phenomenal technology, they don't seem as sold on XM the company. Call it a sector play, in other words, uninspired as it may be.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know!
If you'd like to see the CAPS beta service for yourself, you can follow this link to join the community. The Sirius page is here; the XM page is here. (A free registration is required.) And if you disagree with these rankings or any of the others, you can add your ratings and pitches to CAPS alongside thousands of others. In fact, we encourage it. Because everyone's ideas help make the system smarter.

Tim Hansondoes not own shares of any company mentioned, although he recently closed out an "underperform" rating for XM in CAPS. Learn more about CAPS here. XM is aRule Breakerspick. The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.