Knock, knock! Someone get the door, please? It's Adobe (NASDAQ:ADBE) making a house call. Q2 earnings news should arrive on your doorstep tomorrow afternoon.

After the news comes out, we'll have time a-plenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over Adobe'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 30,000 investors for their views on well over 4,000 companies, Adobe among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the .pdf specialist.

Up or down?
More than 600 investors have submitted ratings on Adobe. Their verdict: This company is built like a clay outhouse.

Clear majorities among the CAPS population overall, and All-Star investors in particular, endorse Adobe. 94% majorities of those who've submitted ratings, in each case. That's good enough to earn Adobe four stars out of five possible on CAPS.

Among its CAPS-coding peers, Adobe sits at the top of the heap:

Software Group

CAPS Rating





Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)


BMC Software (NYSE:BMC)


Openwave (NASDAQ:OPWV)






Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street sentiment parallels Main Street's on this one -- only more so. All 13 of the analysts we track think Adobe will outperform the market going forward. Little wonder, seeing as the stock has done exactly that, beating the S&P 500 by more than 24 percentage points over the last 52 weeks.

Bull pitch
Says the top-rated bull pitcher (no offense intended) on Adobe: "I'm usually not fond of stock with high PE ratios, but in this case I'll make an exception. Adobe has no debt and a free cash flow-to-sales margin of 30%. Their products are great and PDF is a widely-recognized standard for portable documents."

Bear pitch
Apparently, it's role reversal day on CAPS. While the Adobe fan is leery of the firm's high P/E ratio (48 times trailing earnings, since you ask), his bearish foil leads off an anti-Adobe argument with the following: "I love Adobe's products and I've been an investor since just after the Bubble deflated in 2001."

This is a bear argument? Actually, yes. The Adobe pessimist explains: "Historically, Adobe has had fantastic ROE and ROIC numbers (20-30%), but they have recently dropped off to about 10%." Moreover, "Adobe is about 30% higher than my highest value estimate. Even with the lauded introduction of Creative Suite 3, management is anticipating only 15% top-line growth. Yet, my models (11.3% discount rate, 2% terminal rate and using forward estimates as the starting value) estimate that ADBE would require 20%-26% growth for the next several years to justify a $42+ price tag. Even in the best case, I don't think that kind of growth is sustainable over years, and if there are any hiccups, the stock will certainly suffer."

Who said that?
You have to admire a bull who recognizes the ursine side of an argument, and a bear with bovine sentiments. To learn the identities of the two wise Fools who penned these thoughts, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on Adobe, just click here.

Microsoft is an Inside Value newsletter recommendation. Openwave is a Rule Breakers selection.

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. 461 out of more than 30,000 rated investors.