News flash: At The Motley Fool, we're not huge fans of Wall Street.
Whatever the reason, we Foolishly believe that Joe and Jane Investor can pick stocks just as well as Nigel and Vivian, CFA. That's why we created Motley Fool CAPS, harnessing the small-w wisdom of the capital-F Foolish crowd to pick the winners of tomorrow. Problem is, not everyone is pulling their weight.
For the most part, the 85,000 investors currently on CAPS are telling us what we already know:Valero
Thanks for playing. No, really!
Not that we don't appreciate the effort. We do. But today, I'm asking you to broaden your horizons a bit. We still have literally hundreds of stocks out there in CAPS-land that lack the 10 ratings necessary to earn them a CAPS "star" rating.
Where you come in
I'd like to introduce you to just three of these hundreds. If you know the companies in question, please take a moment to tell us whether you like them or hate them, and why. It's really as simple as that.
American National Bankshares
Operating in half a dozen Virginian counties, and even down into North Carolina, American National Bankshares offers banking with a business focus, loaning primarily to small and medium-sized businesses to fund construction and commercial real estate projects. It also offers residential mortgages and home equity lines to homeowners. Established in 1909, ANB is just one year short of notching its first century in business -- and with nine CAPS ratings to its name, it's just one rating away from earnings its CAPS stars. Care to make a deposit?
Old Second Bancorp
With 29 banking branches spread over half a dozen Illinois counties, 27-year-Old Second Bancorp offers pretty much every banking service you could ask for. Savings and checking? Check (hee hee). Mortgages and student loans? Check and check. Banking online? No checks (meaning yes). It's not a great bank, but neither is it horrible. Return on equity passes 15%, and return on assets falls just short of 1%. And yet, nearly every Fool who's looked at this stock hates it, including five out of six All-Stars polled. Care to explain why they're wrong? Here's your chance.
Global Traffic Network
To close with our smallest stock today, we look first south of the equator, and then north of the border, to tiny Global Traffic Network. As the name suggests, GTN's life's work is providing traffic (and also news) reports to dozens of radio and television stations internationally -- specifically, in Australia to the south and Canada to the north. But after the workday is done, it goes home to the city so nice, they named it twice -- New York, New York. Eight out of nine Fools polled kindly overlook the fact that GTN is losing money and burning cash, and rate this stock an outperformer. Here's your chance to help them avoid a car crash -- or climb aboard yourself. It's your call.
Help us, Obi-Wan. You're our only hope.
Each of the above stocks currently falls just one vote short of earning its CAPS stars. That gives you the chance to play the hero today. Literally, with just a click of your mouse, you can provide the deciding vote that puts any one of these stocks over the top, and lets everyone else on CAPS know whether it's ready to trounce the market, or trip over its own feet.
Once again, our candidates are:
Give 'em some love, people.