Earnings season is afoot, and all the big names are coming out to play. Tomorrow, it's robo-surgeon and Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Intuitive Surgical (NASDAQ:ISRG) reporting its Q1 2007 numbers.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Intuitive's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 27,000 investors for their views on more than 4,000 companies, Intuitive among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
More than 1,000 investors have submitted opinions on the company. The verdict: These shares compute.

A whopping 95% of CAPS investors think Intuitive's a no-brainer, and the enthusiasm just gets better as the investors' skill level rises. Among our All-Stars, it's 96%. That's good enough to bag Intuitive four out of five possible stars.

Medical-equipment makers as a group get high ratings on CAPS. Intuitive Surgical is less the exception than the rule.

Medical Device Group

CAPS Rating (out of five)



Foxhollow (NASDAQ:FOXH)


Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ)


Medtronic (NYSE:MDT)


Intuitive Surgical


AngioDynamics (NASDAQ:ANGO)


Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX)


Wall Street vs. Main Street
The verdict is similar when you ask the investors who supposedly know the most about investing -- Wall Street analysts. Not a single analyst goes on record panning the company, while six of them say it's a buy. Pretty solid support for a firm that's beating the S&P by only 4 percentage points over the past 52 weeks.

Brass tacks
So if Wall Street loves it, and average investors do, too, why isn't Intuitive Surgical just crushing the market?

Bull pitch
Intuitive bulls think the company is "the future of surgery." They love its Gillette-esque "razor and blades" business model of selling surgical robots, and then selling consumable products and add-ons to use them. It also doesn't hurt that the company's sales are growing like wildfire and that it's a profitable business.

Bear pitch
Bears just plain think the stock's overpriced. Nearly every Intuitive detractor on CAPS chimes in with some variation of "it's too expensive."

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools who penned these thoughts, and to explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 284 out of more than 27,000 raters. Johnson & Johnson is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool has a disclosure policy.