After two straight quarters of missing analyst consensus targets for quarterly earnings, semiconductor fixer-upper Electro Scientific Industries (NASDAQ:ESIO) aims to turn things around, finishing its fiscal year with a bang this week. So far, the stock has done little to electrify its fans at Hidden Gems Pay Dirt (where we recommended it to members in February), but we'll be rooting for the turnaround on Thursday.

After the news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over ESI'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 60,000 investors for their views on well more than 4,000 companies, ESI among them. Here's what Fools have to say about it.

Up or down?
More than 200 investors have submitted ratings on ESI. Their verdict: Pretty enthusiastic.

97% of CAPS investors expect ESI to outperform the market, and the very best investors -- our CAPS All-Stars -- give the stock a 99% endorsement. No surprise here: ESI scores a perfect five-star rating on CAPS.

Within its CAPS grouping, ESI is top o' the heap:

Diversified Electronics Group

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Electro Scientific Industries


American Superconductor (NASDAQ:AMSC)


Hittite Microwave (NASDAQ:HITT)




Microvision (NASDAQ:MVIS)


Vicor Corporation (NASDAQ:VICR)


Saifun Semiconductors (NASDAQ:SFUN)


Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street is even more bullish (bullisher?) on ESI. Both of the analysts we track expect it to outperform the market. So far, though, it's been lagging the S&P 500 by five percentage points over the last 52 weeks.

Bull pitch
CAPS players seem to have outsourced their analysis on this one. The reason most often cited for recommending ESI is the collective 25% position in its shares held by value investors Marty Whitman (at Third Avenue) and David Nierenberg (of D3 Family Funds). An endorsement from Value Line completes the triad of this stock's professional fans.

Bear pitch
Bears are in short supply around ESI. In fact, the only negative comment you'll find criticizes the company for "lots of executive management turnover." So I'll toss in a couple of other observations just to balance the scales. For one thing, ESI has a price-to-free cash flow ratio of 100, making this look like one pricey "bargain." For another, since so much of the investment thesis here appears to hinge on following smart money, it's worth noting that 9% of the shares have been sold short. As a general rule, shorts are considered some of the smarter money in the market -- though I'd like to know who's smarter than Nierenberg and Whitman.

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fools behind these opinions, 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 977 out of more than 59,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.