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 ...
Two days ago, Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation Polycom (NASDAQ:PLCM) got a much-appreciated boost when investment banker Kaufman Bros. publicly reiterated its "buy" rating on the stock. This morning, investors hoping for a repeat of Wednesday's 5% leap on the back of Janney Montgomery Scott's initiating coverage with a "buy" rating of its own ... are still waiting.

Where's the missed connection on this video-teleconferencing firm? Why is it that when one analyst, already bullish on the stock, says he's still bullish, this makes the shares go up -- but when a second analyst, who's apparently never even considered Polycom, declares that he likes it, the stock doesn't move a whisker? No one can say for sure, of course, but I've got a theory. It all comes down to ...

Who's hot and who's not
As we discussed earlier this week when reviewing Kaufman's upgrade of Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO) -- also a Rule Breakers pick -- we noted that its "record looks pretty good." Emphasis on "pretty," though. As of this writing, the analyst is slumping. It's scoring in just the 77th percentile of CAPS players, with a slightly below-par record of stock picking.

Reaching into its CAPS cap and pulling out a few picks, we find:


Kaufman Said:

CAPS Says (out of 5):

Kaufman's Pick Beating (Lagging) S&P By:

Nuance Communications (NASDAQ:NUAN)



28 points

Motorola (NYSE:MOT)



(16 points)




(24 points)

And Janney? This story is even worse. As it happens, I took a look at this guru back in April. My conclusion then: "There's no nice way to say this: If its CAPS record is any indication, you absolutely should not listen to anything Janney has to say." That hasn't changed. Today, Janney has a negative CAPS score, sports a rating of, ahem, "Under 20," and makes three wrong guesses for every two it gets right. For example:


Janney Said:

CAPS Says:

Janney's Pick Beating (Lagging) S&P By:




9 points

Genentech (NYSE:DNA)



(34 points)




(43 points)

I must say, things are not looking particularly propitious for Polycom holders this week. Kaufman, a decent picker, doesn't have such a great record when it comes to communications companies. Janney doesn't seem familiar at all with this industry, and with the industries it spends more time on (biotech, for instance), it doesn't do so well.

Lucky for Polycom investors, then, that they have some more proficient stock pickers in their corner -- Banc of America Securities, for one; Jefferies, for another; Lehman Bros., for a third.

And how are those three doing?
Glad you asked. Actually, all three are in the red on Polycom! As am I. I recently gave the stock the thumbs-up on CAPS, and I remain impressed with its strong free cash flow ($108 million over the past 12 months) and impressive net income growth rate (52% on average over the past four years, and 21% projected for the next five). To me, the stock looks at worst fairly valued and could well be a bargain.

If you're not impressed with the professional analysts backing Polycom, take a free trial of Rule Breakers. You can read what the people who have outperformed the market by 24 points per pick over the past three years have to say about it.

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 ranked No. 1,283 out of 76,000 players. Akamai is also a Rule Breakers recommendation. Nuance is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. The Fool's disclosure statement feels left out.