Wall Street's Buy List

Actions speak louder than words, as the old saying goes. So why does the media focus so much attention on what Wall Street says about companies, instead of what it does with them?

Luckily for Wall Street watchers, the Internet brings us MSN Money's list of which companies the institutions are buying. True, we should be as skeptical of Wall Street's actions as we are of its words. But when the 160,000-plus lay and professional investors on Motley Fool CAPS agree with Wall Street's opinions, it just might be time for some buying.

Here's the latest edition of Wall Street's Buy List, alongside our investors' opinions of the companies involved:

Company

Recent Price

CAPS Rating

(out of 5)

Lionbridge Technologies (Nasdaq: LIOX  )

$5.02

*****

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: KERX  )

$5.95

**

iStar Financial  (NYSE: SFI  )

$7.00

**

Companies are selected from the "Institutional Ownership Up Last Month" list published on MSN Money after close of trading on Thursday. Recent price provided by Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Wall Street vs. Main Street
After yesterday's sell-off, you may be under the impression that nobody is buying anything these days -- that all they're doing is selling -- but the truth is quite the opposite. Up on Wall Street, the pinstripe-and-wingtip crowd just cannot get enough of these stocks. And down here on Main Street, at least some Fools agree with their "Wiser" peers.

For example, according to CAPS member gchohamin, now that the "U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted fast track designation of perifosince for the treatment of refractory advanced colorectal cancer ... [Keryx] should be a real mover." 

Meanwhile, CAPS All-Star dragonLZ cites a mysterious "three-ten method" as indicating that "SFI is a winner." I don't have a clue what a "three-ten" method might be. What I do know is that iStar lost more than $700 million last year, while rival Annaly Capital (NYSE: NLY  ) earned nearly $1.9 billion. (Which of those numbers sounds better to you?) 

Meanwhile, with a price-to-sales ratio of more than 15 -- in an industry where proven performers like Baxter (NYSE: BAX  ) sell for as little as two-times sales -- Keryx remains a "show-me" stock to this Fool. 

And gchohamin's and dragonLZ's enthusiasm notwithstanding, it seems most investors are with me on these assessments -- giving neither Keryx nor iStar even the half-hearted endorsement of a three-star rating on CAPS.

And then there's the third stock on today's list ...

The bull case for Lionbridge Technologies
Never heard of Lionbridge? Then allow CAPS member 37weeks to introduce you: "LIOX is a leader in the business of providing language services to companies that deal with other dialects and languages in the marketing of their goods and services. This is a fast growing business as we become global in our marketing."

Nor is 37weeks the only one to think so. IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) recently tied up with Lionbridge on an effort to develop "automated translation technology by leveraging statistical algorithms that translate content and communications such as web pages, documents, customer support, user generated content, instant messages, blogs and email." Inspired by IBM's vote of confidence, CAPS All-Star randomvariable moved quickly to try and "catch the tail end of the jump from the new IBM deal."

And whether you agree with randomvariable's opinion (and IBM's) or not, GreatStocks3728 argues that facts are facts: Lionbridge is already generating"Good growth and earnings."

Earnings and value
From where this Fool sits, the stock also looks likely to generate good value for investors at today's price. The company turned a profit in its fiscal first quarter (reported Wednesday). In one fell swoop, Lionbridge crossed over into the black, and now sports trailing-12-month earnings of nearly $1.6 million. Admittedly, that's not a lot to support Lionbridge's near-$300 million market cap. Rival Rosetta Stone (NYSE: RST  ) sells for less than twice as much, but earned nearly 10 times as much.

On the other hand, Lionbridge is pegged for faster growth than Rosetta. It's also generating so much free cash flow already, that I believe the company's 20% projected growth rate more than justifies its stock price. Lionbridge generated $20.1 million in free cash flow last year, you see. And although the company has not yet released full cash flow figures for the Q1-just-reported, the fact that Lionbridge generated positive operating cash flow ($0.6 million) this time around, in comparison to last year's Q1 operating cash burn of $2.3 million, tells me it's more likely than not that the company accelerated its production of free cash.

Foolish takeaway
Put it all together, and what I believe we're looking at here is a company selling for less than 15 times free cash flow (and perhaps even less), while expected to grow at a 20% clip over the next half-decade. To me, Lionbridge sounds like the cat's meow.

But that's just me. Feel free to disagree.

LIOX stock has more than tripled over the past year. How do you know when "the train has left the station" and it's too late to buy? Here's how.

Rosetta Stone is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor choice, but Fool contributor Rich Smith  has no position in any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 492 out of more than 160,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (15)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 07, 2010, at 4:23 PM, EnigmaDude wrote:

    Wow - what a horrible article! Did MF actually pay you to write this? Comparing a speculative, high-growth biotech like KERX to a 27B market cap medical device maker like Baxter is like comparing Apple to icad (ICAD) - and if you don't know who icad is, do some research. And all you based that on is a price to sales ratio and the fact that KERX currently has a 2-star rating? (Ironically, the little chart at the top of the article still shows it as a 4-star rated stock)

    I pretty much stopped reading after that and will most likely avoid any future write-ups/blogs from TMFDitty...

  • Report this Comment On May 15, 2010, at 1:47 PM, dragonLZ wrote:

    TMFDitty, Thank you for mentioning my name in your article.

    And yes, I do think (or should I say my three-ten method thinks) SFI is going to ouperform NLY at least 2:1.

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