As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (akin to a "buy" call) or underperform rating (akin to a "sell" call) in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The most hated chemicals stocks
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you every one- and two-star chemicals stock with a market capitalization over $100 million and 25 or more underperform ratings. Remember, stocks are rated on a five-star scale by our CAPS community, so one- and two-star stocks are consensus underperforms. The stocks are listed in order of number of underperform picks.

Company Name

Market Capitalization (in millions)

52 Week Price Change %

Price-to-Earnings (TTM)

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Underperform Picks

Green Plains Renewable Energy (Nasdaq: GPRE)






Metabolix (Nasdaq: MBLX)






Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE: SMG)






Georgia Gulf (NYSE: GGC)






Celanese (NYSE: CE)






Source: Motley Fool CAPS. NM=not meaningful.

More CAPS members think ethanol producer Green Plains Renewable Energy is a sell than any other chemicals stock. Do you think it deserves this lack of love? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these popular stocks.

You may have noticed that the three biggest underperform vote getters were all agriculture-related. Interestingly, the top vote getter for outperformers was also agriculture-related. You can see all the top chemicals stocks by clicking here.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.