"Actions speak louder than words."

It's an old saying, with more than a grain of truth to it, I'll warrant. So why is it that when the Wall Street firms merely "initiate coverage" or "upgrade" their ratings on a company, that gets all of the news coverage? After all, those are only words, when what really matters is how the big boys act. Luckily for Wall Street watchers, finding out which professionals put their money where their corporate mouthpieces are has become relatively easy in this Internet age of ours. All we have to do is read MSN Money's list of which companies the Street is most actively buying.

But once we've done that, what next? After all, "monkey see, monkey do" may not make for the soundest of investment strategies. That's where Motley Fool CAPS can help. The Fool's newest venture into the realm of collective intelligence collects ratings from more than 20,000 lay and professional analysts and then overweights the most successful raters' opinions to come up with a CAPS rating from one to five stars, five being the best. If Wall Street's buying and the smartest investors in Fooldom say they're right to do so, then that should get your attention.

And so, let's meet today's list of contenders.

Company

30-Day Price Increase

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

VASCO Data Security (NASDAQ:VDSI)

30%

$15.32

****

Gorman-Rupp (AMEX:GRC)

29%

$39.98

***

Immunomedics (NASDAQ:IMMU)

50%

$4.53

*

Maxygen (NASDAQ:MAXY)

39%

$11.55

*



Companies were selected from the "Institutional Ownership Up Last Month" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following the close of trading last week. Price increase and current pricing also provided by MSN Money on the same date. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Chickens and eggs
Another well-worn saw asks us: Which came first, the chicken or the egg? As you've noticed by now, one characteristic that each of these stocks has in common is that they've experienced dramatic price increases over the past 30 days. But are the Wall Streeters buying because the stocks have gone up -- playing the momentum game -- or is their heavy buying causing the prices to spike? It could even be a combination of the two -- a vicious circle of some buyers pushing the price up, and others hopping aboard the bandwagon and enjoying the ride.

Can this chicken fly?
In today's list, just one stock finds Wall Street's enthusiasm aligned with an above-average CAPS rating. With its shares up 30% in as many days, you might think that the run-up in Vasco stock has run its course, the train has left the building, and the chicken has flown the coop. If so, I know a few CAPS players who've got a bone to pick with that argument. Out of 161 Fools surveyed, only six think that this provider of "standards-based hardware and software security systems" will underperform the market. As for the bulls, here's what they have to say about Vasco:

  • The Fool's own TMFBreakerBeth, a CAPS All-Star, likes it that Vasco is "fast growing with almost no long-term debt" and thinks that it "sounds like a winner."
  • Yet another All-Star, 1Ganador, foresees a "Year-end spike [caused by] new regulations."
  • What regulations, you ask? Allow TMFMileHigh to explain: "[Vasco] specializes in selling online banking authentication to financial institutions that haven't a clue about how to lock a digital safe on behalf of users." He also likes that "the firm has a history of blistering returns on equity, high insider ownership, and 40%-50% sales growth."

See why Wall Street likes Vasco now? Well, don't just take their word for it -- or ours. Come on over to CAPS, where you can read what other investors have written, browse the firm's SEC filings, or just get the highlights on its key statistics. Once you've formed an opinion of your own, tell us about it. You see, on Motley Fool CAPS, it doesn't matter whether your name has a "TMF" in front of it, or a "CFA" after it. Unlike Wall Street, we welcome all comments on CAPS, where the best arguments -- and the best records -- carry the day.

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 56 out of nearly 20,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.