"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 rankings from more than 30,000 rated 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.


Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating

Hyperdynamics (AMEX:HDY)



Stride Rite  (NYSE:SRR)






Hoku Scientific (NASDAQ:HOKU)



Integrated Electrical Services  (NASDAQ:IESC)



Exeter Resource (AMEX:XRA)


Not rated

Everlast Worldwide  (NASDAQ:EVST)


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.

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street continues to chow down at the buyout trough, binging on companies that others have already agreed to eat entirely. Both Stride Rite and CKX, as well as several other companies we didn't have room to include in the list, have attracted merger bids and Wall Street interest almost simultaneously. Yet I find it interesting that not one of these acquisition targets comes close to earning an outperform rating on Main Street. This suggests that investors don't expect bidding wars to break out over these companies -- perhaps because the buyers are overpaying.

In fact, when you get right down to it, investors don't seem impressed with any of the stocks on today's list -- buyout targets or no. Why, Exeter and Everlast haven't even managed to attract the 10 ratings necessary to earn a CAPS star rank! And the only stock on this list to enjoy so much as a single substantive, positive pitch from an All-Star player is Stride Rite. A lot of good that does us now -- but it's a good argument in favor of watching what the All-Stars are saying in the future.

Build-a-bull, anyone?
So what exactly is going on here? Does Wall Street see something in these companies that the rest of us have missed? Or have the bankers all gone mad?

If that sounds like a rhetorical question, it isn't. You see, on CAPS, we depend on our community of investors to tell us what's hot and what's not -- and to explain why, as well. If you know a reason why your fellow investors should be bullish on any of the seven stocks named above, we're all ears. Come on over to CAPS and give us your best pitch.

Motley Fool CAPS: It's fun, it's free, and it just might 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. 474 out of 30,600 rated players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.