Someone call the stable hand. He's put the cart before the horse here.

I mean really, whose bright idea was it to have toymaker Mattel (NYSE:MAT) wait until after the weekend to report its first-quarter 2007 numbers? For those of us who view every earnings season like it's Christmas, it seems just too cruel for words to deny us the pleasure of enjoying Mattel's gift during our days off.

Well, perhaps it's for the best. There will be plenty of time to digest the news after Mattel reports Monday morning. Meanwhile, before CNBC tries to persuade us to ignore 62 years of toymaking history, and evaluate Mattel's worth based on three short months, let's use the weekend to review what investors think about Mattel as a long-term investment.

Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 26,000 investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, Mattel among them. Here's what Fools have to say about it.

Up or down?
One hundred and forty investors have submitted ratings on the company. The verdict: We're not impressed.

Overall, nearly nine out of 10 investors rate the company likely to outperform the market going forward. A similar number of the very best investors -- those designated as All-Stars on CAPS by virtue of their outperforming 80% of their peers -- give Mattel the thumbs-up. Yet that's not enough to push this company into the ranks of investor favorites. On the contrary, its CAPS rating remains a lowly two stars out of a possible five.

Mattel needn't feel embarrassed over its two stars, however. Reviewing its peer group on CAPS, we see that with only a couple of exceptions, investors think the gaming sector is broken:

Toys & Games companies

CAPS rating

Jakks Pacific (NASDAQ:JAKK)


International Game Technology (NYSE:IGT)


Hasbro (NYSE:HAS)




LeapFrog (NYSE:LF)




Russ Berrie (NYSE:RUS)

Not rated

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Interestingly, when you poll the investors who supposedly know the most about investing -- Wall Street analysts -- the view is even more pessimistic. Out of 11 analysts asked, eight take a pass. Only three venture an opinion worth having, and of those, just 67% (i.e., two out of three) think Mattel will outperform the market.

Funny, that. Because if you examine the stock's performance over the last 52 weeks, you'll see that it has, in fact, thrashed the market by better than 55 percentage points.

Opinions intersect
Numerically speaking, few residents of either boulevard -- Wall Street or Main Street -- foresee disaster at Mattel. That said, there's a notable lack of enthusiasm in either camp. Even the pitches posted on CAPS have a sort of halfhearted air about them, suggesting this stock could go either way.

Bull pitch
The top-rated pitch on CAPS comes from a highly rated investor who thinks that even after its long run, Mattel remains a "safety stock" of sorts, observing that toymakers tend to hold up well during economic downturns.

Bear pitch
At least one of our All-Stars begs to differ, however, observing that Mattel is showing "poor cash flow and the CFO is selling off his shares." Neither of which inspires a lot of confidence.

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

Mattel is an Inside Value selection, and Hasbro is a recommendation of our Stock Advisor newsletter. You can take any of our newsletters for a free 30-day test drive. 

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 228th out of well over 26,000 raters.