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 135,000-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:


Recent Price

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Trico Marine Services (NASDAQ:TRMA)



American International Group (NYSE:AIG)



Citigroup (NYSE:C)



Dana Holding (NYSE:DAN)



American Axle & Manufacturing (NYSE:AXL)



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

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street traders are snapping up these stocks just as fast as they can hit the "buy" button. Down here on Main Street, though, we're wondering if the "experts" have spent just a bit too much time under the summer sun. Seems their dreams of profits just might be hallucinations ... except in one instance. Turns out, both Wall Street and Main Street agree that Trico Marine Services is a buy.

Who is Trico Marine, you ask? It's not a bad question. At just $137 million in market cap, Trico isn't exactly a household name. But Trico is nonetheless important to your household -- this company's fleet of 77 ships plays a crucial role in servicing deepwater oil explorers like Statoil Hydro (NYSE:STO) and Petrobras (NYSE:PBR), who supply the oil to heat your home in winter. And its low name recognition notwithstanding, Trico has attracted quite a following among some of CAPS's very best investors.

The bull case for Trico Marine Services
Lamenting that oil is "deep in to it right now," CAPS All-Star imajerbear opined earlier this year that: "The days of easy extraction of oil are gone and some of the petroleum resources ie oil shale will require prices above $80 long term to exploit them economically. Oil fields around the world are showing decreases, some major, in their output."

Where will we find the oil? Look deep, advises fellow All-Star mindmuse. Writing last summer, this member argued that when Trico bought out DeepOcean last year, it made "a huge strategic play. Truly seizing the moment-with shifts toward deepwater oil and shortage of support ships, they'll be in a couple of sweet spots in oil services."

Sure, Trico would benefit with higher oil prices, but its stock price still might be reasonable. Yet another of our best investors, bklynmp3j this time, pointed out just last week that we're now seeing "insider buying" at Trico Marine.

Indeed, insiders are now net purchasers of Trico stock over the past six months, and this month alone, the CEO has laid out more than $100,000 buying his company's stock on the open market.

At first glance, the decision doesn't seem to make much sense -- after all, Trico was just barely profitable in its most recent quarter, lost money over the last four reported quarters, and has burned cash over the last 12 months. But if there's anyone in a position to gauge the chance for a recovery, it's the CEO. And it wasn't so long ago that Trico was making a profit and generating cash. Over the last five full fiscal years, even as it racked up $127 million in GAAP "losses," Trico averaged nearly $31 million in annual free cash flow. Hard cash from the business of helping to mine black gold.

Maybe the CEO thinks those happy days are about to return once more.

Time to chime in
For my part, I'm not about to risk investing in Trico. While I'll readily admit that the CEO has a better grasp of conditions at his company than do I, and while my love of free cash flow is well known, Trico's massive debt load (nearly $670 million in net debt) still gives me pause. And it's not just me. As of late last month, some 14% of this company's stock was sold short, which suggests that pessimism over its chances is widespread.

That said, smarter Fools than I are taking the other side of this bet. Are you one of them? If so, then here's your chance to tell us why. Click over to Motley Fool CAPS now, and tell us why Trico is on your buy list.

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

Petrobras and StatoilHydro are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations.

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. 523 out of more than 135,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.