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 stars)

Star Bulk Carriers  (NASDAQ:SBLK)



Yingli Green Energy 



Canadian Solar 



Solarfun Power  (NASDAQ:SOLF)



Trina Solar  (NYSE:TSL)



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.

Blue Horseshoe loves solar stocks
Wall Street loves these solar stocks, and Main Street investors, while somewhat more reserved in our enthusiasm, have generally warm feelings for the solar players as well. But that's just a drop in the bucket compared to the stock we love the most: Star Bulk Carriers, which had recently bounced into five-star territory (before settling back at four) after jumping from among the three-stars.

Want to know why? I sure do. So let's find out.

The bull case for Star Bulk Carriers
The Fool's very own TMFSmashy (a CAPS All-Star, by the way) picked Star Bulk to outperform back in October, citing the dry bulk shipper's "low debt" as a key factor in its favor. He also liked the fact that Star is "90% chartered in 2009," and predicted that even with no rise in the stock price, the firm's 14.2% dividend alone "should easily beat the return of the S&P over the next year." Companies that pay big dividends do look juicy in this market, but make sure the dividend's sustainable. Since TMFSmashy's pitch, Star Bulk has completely sunk its payout.

Fellow All-Star Trimalerus is also Star-struck, arguing that while "shipping has taken a beating in the last few months ... the outlook is promising for future earnings.... [Star] may not provide the stellar returns that occur in other sectors, but it looks to be a solid performer in the long term." spitell51 agrees, calling Star Bulk the "very best of a very beaten down industry. Lowest debt. highest margins. This is a good one for future dividend potential."

That's an awful lot of bullishness going on up there, but I'm going to come right out and risk getting trampled on this one: I don't like Star Bulk.

Before I tell you why, though, some truth in advertising is in order. Fact is, Star Bulk does not have the highest margins in its industry. I'm not saying that 54% operating margins aren't terrific -- they are, and they're better than you'll find at better-known shipping shops like DryShips (NASDAQ:DRYS) and Excel Maritime (NYSE:EXM). But the fact remains that there are at least two shippers, Genco (NYSE:GNK) and Diana Shipping (NYSE:DSX), that boast beefier margins. Diana also carries a smaller debt load than does Star Bulk -- and on a much higher market cap. (No offense, Star Bulk. Just keepin' it real.)

Of course, none of that has anything to do with the real reason I shy away from Star Bulk. I've said this a dozen times already, but once more can't hurt: The real reason I won't invest in Star Bulk is that it burns cash in, well, bulk. Over the last three fiscal years this firm has managed the neat trick of reporting $140 million in profit at the same time that it burned its way through nearly $481 million in cash.

And while, intellectually, I understand that shipping companies need to spend money (buying boats) in order to make money (by moving stuff around on those boats) ... that's still a $341 million disconnect between GAAP earnings and real cash generation, folks. And it's enough to scare this Fool straight out of the water.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about Star Bulk Carriers -- or even what other CAPS players are saying. We really want to hear what you have to say about the company. Click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us what you think.

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