"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 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, 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:

30-Day Price Increase

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating





Neurocrine Biosciences (NASDAQ:NBIX)




YM Biosciences (AMEX:YMI)




Beijing Med-Pharm (NASDAQ:BJGP)



Not rated

Idera Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:IDP)



Not rated

Endologix (NASDAQ:ELGX)



Not rated

Companies are selected from the "Institutional Ownership Up Last Month" list published on MSN Money on the Saturday following 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, these stocks have all experienced dramatic price increases over the last 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?
Biotech was the flavor of the week on Wall Street, as traders invested in health care hand over fist. And for the most part, the opinion of CAPS' lay analysts aligned pretty well with the professionals'. Each of the three rated stocks receives an average or better than average rating in CAPS-land. (On the other hand, three of these stocks have no rating whatsoever. If you're an investor in Beijing Med-Pharm, Idera, or Endologix, and can help us out with that by visiting Motley Fool CAPS and telling us what you think of the company, we'd be much obliged.)

Pondering which of the above six stocks to feature in today's column, I choose ViaCell. Just a little over a month ago, in the December 11 edition of this column's mirror image, "Contrarian Christmas List," we highlighted ViaCell as an up-and-comer in the field of stem cell research, and a leader in the cash-cow business of preserving stem cells for future research. At the time, Wall Street was dubious, and selling the stock like mad. Today, just a few short weeks later, ViaCell's become one of the market's hottest stocks -- which just goes to show how quickly a stock can go from "Some Pig" to dirty ol' hog on Wall Street.

In the weeks since that column ran, support for ViaCell just kept on growing among CAPS players -- proving that it's not always the professionals that see these things first. At last count, the stock enjoyed overwhelming support. Seventy-four investors, including investing powerhouseUBS, say it will outperform the market, and just three say it won't. What's more, none of those three has put their bear thesis into words with a CAPS pitch explaining why they don't like the stock.

Can you? If you've got the guts to go up against UBS and 74 other investors, go to CAPS right now and tell us why we're wrong (yes, I'm on record in favor of ViaCell, too). It doesn't matter if 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 30 out of more than 20,000 raters. The Fool has a disclosure policy.