At The Motley Fool, we poke plenty of fun at Wall Street analysts and their endless cycle of upgrades, downgrades, and "initiating coverage at neutral." So you might think we'd be the last people to give virtual ink to such "news." And we would be -- if that were all we were doing.

But in "This Just In," we don't simply tell you what the analysts said. We'll also show you whether they know what they're talking about. To help, we've enlisted Motley Fool CAPS, our tool for rating stocks and analysts alike. With CAPS, we'll be tracking the long-term performance of Wall Street's best and brightest -- and its worst and sorriest, too.

And speaking of the best ...
Megabanker Banc of America Securities initiated coverage across the length and breadth of China's solar power industry this morning. Going neutral on half of the sector -- Yingli Green Energy (NYSE:YGE), Solarfun (NASDAQ:SOLF), and the misleadingly named Canadian Solar -- BofA endorsed the stocks of JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL), while panning that of China Sunergy (NASDAQ:CSUN).

The analyst gave his highest marks to JA Solar, citing that firm's close ties to the nation's biggest silicon-wafer maker, Jinglong, as reason to expect JA will escape the supply crunch plaguing China Sunergy.

Conspicuously absent from the list was Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation Suntech Power (NYSE:STP), which BofA already covers with a "neutral" rating.

Now, as we've discussed in columns past, BofA ranks among the CAPS elite stock pickers. It boasts a CAPS rating in the top 3% of players overall, and a strong record in the U.S. solar industry (riding SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) to a 149-point outperformance of the S&P 500, for example). But I can't help but notice that when it comes to the Chinese solar industry, BofA's opinion contrasts sharply with that of CAPS investors. See for yourself:

Company

P/E

Growth Rate
(5-Year Expected, Per Year)

CAPS Rating
(Out of 5)

BofA Says

JA Solar

76

40%

***

Buy

Trina Solar

60

40%

**

Buy

China Sunergy

n/a

None given

**

Sell

Canadian Solar

n/a

30%

*

Hold

Yingli Green Energy

n/a

47%

****

Hold

Solarfun Power

52

30%

***

Hold

Suntech

80

41%

*****

Hold

Source: Yahoo! Finance and Motley Fool CAPS.

BofA benches two of CAPS' "star" performers, Yingli and Suntech. Meanwhile, it gives top marks to a pair of firms on which CAPS investors are lukewarm at best: JA and Trina. About the only thing Wall Street and Main Street seem to agree on, is that China Sunergy is doomed.

But can we perhaps agree on one more thing? No one has any good idea of what's going on with these companies. I mean, the supposed "slowpokes" of this industry are the firms expected to grow 30% each year for the next half decade! From where I sit, these companies aren't just moving targets -- they're moving at light speed. And with half of the industry still unprofitable, the real question here is which way the companies are moving -- up or down.

It's a marketplace tailor-made for the hyper-growth investors at Motley Fool Rule Breakers, and with their recommendation of Suntech more than doubling in the less than two years since they picked it, it appears they've got mad skillz in this arena. But for a mere value investor like Yours Fool-y, these companies give me the willies. If you want in on the action, but are as frightened as I by all the unknowns, consider taking Rule Breakers up on its offer of a free trial, and get some advice from the people who know these companies best.

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. 3,718 out of more than 73,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.