"Actions speak louder than words." There's more than a grain of truth to that old chestnut, I'll warrant. But why does the media focus so much attention on what Wall Street says about companies? After all, upgrades and downgrades are mere words; what really matters is how the big boys act.

Luckily for Wall Street watchers, the Internet has made it easy to find this out. All we need to do is read MSN Money's list of which companies the institutions are buying. Of course, "Monkey see, monkey do" may not make for the soundest of investment strategies. Just as we view the professionals' words with skepticism, we might also want to think twice before blindly imitating their actions.

And yet there are times when Wall Street is buying, and the smartest investors on Main Street agree. At Motley Fool CAPS, we track the opinions of 74,000-plus lay and professional analysts, then overweight the most successful raters' opinions, arriving at a "CAPS rating" of from one to five stars (five being the best). When opinions on Wall Street and Main Street intersect, that just might be the time to do some buying.

Here, then, is the latest version of Wall Street's Buy List, along with a summary of how CAPS investors view the companies:

Currently Fetching

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Hecla Mining  (NYSE:HL)

$11.48

****

TXCO Resources (NASDAQ:TXCO)

$13.53

****

DXP Enterprises  (NASDAQ:DXPE)

$48.59

****

CF Industries  (NYSE:CF)

$93.24

***

Winn-Dixie Stores  (NASDAQ:WINN)

$19.38

*

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

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street's top picks get a generally positive reception from Main Street this week, with more than half receiving above-average four-star ratings from investors. The three-way tie for first place presents yours Fool-y with a dilemma, however: Which of these highly rated stocks shall we profile today?

Let's listen to the people who actively follow the company I think is most interesting. Turning to our CAPS investors, we learn more about ...

The bull case for Hecla Mining

  • Gold prices recently broke the $800 mark, and they continued to head higher for much of this month (though prices have been falling the last couple of days). Anticipating continued upward movement for both gold and silver, CAPS All-Star martynanasi argued last July: "Silver prices have several months lag to gold prices on top of not having the same movement gold has displayed in its rally. Expect silver prices to converge toward gold movements. Also a play on a weakening dollar and possible rises in inflation."
  • Fellow All-Star Vince1172 believed that silver has become more rare when he wrote the following last spring: "1. The world has nearly run out of silver. 2. The nations of the world have printed up nearly unlimited amounts of unbacked paper money ... most of the silver that has ever been mined in the world has been consumed by industry. ... These factors create this once-in-history opportunity. ... Silver today may be the best investment opportunity in the history of mankind."
  • Sound too good to be true? You're right to be skeptical. As Matt8265 opines: "Most silver and gold bugs are frankly kooks, but sometimes those kooks create value by nullifying-obscuring the intrinsic value. Such is the case here. Silver consumption has outstripped production for 17 years. Silver is in the ground at a ratio of 17:1 to gold yet is priced at 58:1. Silver stockpiles are depleted with rising manufacturing costs. ... Silver is an inflation hedge ... Don't lose site of this metal's values just because of the kooks."

That said, there's a difference between silver and silver miners. If you're bullish on the metal, then by all means, start buying silver dollars and dropping them in your piggy bank. But if it's silver-mining companies you're interested in, then I see at least one argument in favor of Hecla being one of the good 'uns.

Reviewing the firm's balance-sheet data over the last five years, I see a trend of tangible book value growing steadily, and moreover, growing faster and faster with each passing year. Five years ago, tangible book value at Hecla was averaging a 16.5%-per-year decline over the previous five years. Four years ago, growth in hard assets at this company turned positive, and it has improved every year since. Today, we see a company that's managed to grow its tangible book value by more than 30% per year on average from 2002 through today's date. Those numbers aren't just silver -- they're golden.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Hecla Mining -- or even what the other CAPS players are saying. We also want to hear your thoughts on this, or any other company on today's list. If you've got an opinion, we've got a place to voice it.

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. 1,163 out of more than 74,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.