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 170,000-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:

Companies

Recent Price

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Global Geophysical Services (NYSE: GGS  ) $10.20 *****
TransGlobe Energy (Nasdaq: TGA  ) $16.63 ****
Western Refining (NYSE: WNR  ) $9.25 ****
Cheniere Energy (NYSE: LNG  ) $6.20 ***

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

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Up on Wall Street, the professionals think these four stocks are the greatest things since sliced bread. (And by "bread," I mean money.)

As you can see, there's a common theme driving the Street's buying this week. Whether it's seismically searching for oil and gas deposits, drilling and extracting the stuff once found, refining it once it's above ground, or shipping it from place to place, all four of these companies play their roles in the supply chain. But where's the best place for you to start fishing in this stream of potential profits?

CAPS member Pennyperson thinks the fishing's best downstream at Cheniere Energy, recently authorized by the Department of Energy to build "the first new export terminal for liquefied natural gas in the US in 40 years ... That'll turn out to be big business for Cheniere because the US has such large nat-gas reserves and produces the commodity so cheaply." In contrast, it's gas of a different variety that interests CAPS member LBARILLA, who argues Western Refining's "margins will grow on a lesser supply of fuel oil as the demand for gasoline goes up." And WiseChoice4u2 talks up the "gushers" TransGlobe  keeps hitting in Egypt.

But the consensus choice on CAPS appears to be a plucky little seismologist by the name of Global Geophysical Services, recipient of the CAPS equivalent of a full house -- a complete five-star rating by our members. But what exactly makes Global Geophysical so much better than all the other "energy" stocks on today's list?

Excellent question. Unfortunately, while 15 of our members have already given this stock the green thumb on CAPS -- including all six of the All-Star members who've taken a look at it -- not a single Fool has ventured to express a bull argument in Global Geo's favor.

But not to worry. That's what's great about CAPS -- anyone with insight into a company's worth can express their views here, as I'll now proceed to demonstrate.

The bull case for Global Geophysical Services
At its core, Global Geo is an oil seeker, plumbing the Earth with seismic high waves in order to create 3-D images of "what lies beneath." It then sells these images and data to oil and gas majors including ExxonMobil, Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA  ) , and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) so they can plan their drilling efforts more effectively.

In so doing, Global Geo competes with longtime Fool favorite Dawson Geophysical (Nasdaq: DWSN  ) . What may surprise you, is that Global Geo is actually bigger than Dawson, and arguably a more efficient operator as well. (At least with respect to collecting payment for its services.)

True, Global Geo isn't yet reporting GAAP profits. (But then again, neither is Dawson, currently.) But give it some time; Global Geo went public only six months ago, after all. It's already looking quite good, reporting more than $100 million in positive free cash flow for the past 12-month period. That's enough to give the stock a temptingly low price-to-free cash flow ratio of under 4, and an enterprise value-to free cash flow ratio of just 5.

Foolish takeaway
Granted, these numbers would be more helpful if we knew how fast Global Geo was expected to grow its profits. But although a handful of analysts have begun following the stock, no one's yet guesstimated how fast it might grow over the next five years. What I can tell you, though, is that if it manages to match the 10% growth rate set for Dawson, this stock looks incredibly cheap at today's prices. Cheap enough that I'm going to grit my teeth and admit it: I think Wall Street's got it right this time. Global Geo just might be the real deal.

Or so say I. But what do you think? Here's your chance to become the first investor to comment on Global Geophysical publicly on CAPS. Don't pass it up.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free ... and it might even make you famous.

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 No. 620 out of more than 170,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Chesapeake Energy is a Motley Fool Inside Value choice. Dawson Geophysical is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Dawson Geophysical and ExxonMobil.

Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.


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