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)

Metalico  (NYSE:MEA)



RF Micro Devices  (NASDAQ:RFMD)






Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA)



Savient Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:SVNT)



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 and CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Judging from its buying patterns, Wall Street is calling a bottom in both tech ... and biotech. But Fools aren't entirely convinced. To the contrary, our CAPS community is downright bearish on Savient, and only shrugs at Arena and Rambus.

On the other hand, we're thinking the price is just about right on RF Micro -- but even that story is still not as great as ...

The bull case for Metalico
Some of CAPS' most successful investors have been crowding into Metalico this year. Take All-Star investor devilinside for example. Back in January, this member observed: "inventories rapidly being depleted due to the down turn of the world economy and mining operations cutting back or closing altogether." Yet: "With most world Gov't pouring money into infrastructure, basic materials are going to lead the way in recovery first. Scrape metel producers will recover in this segment before mining because it provides a less expensive and ready source of material. Prices will have to rise substantially before mining operations will find it profitable to bring their opperations back to full production capacity." In which case, a scrap steel specialist like Metalico would be sitting pretty.

Seeing similar trends, fellow All-Star DaretothREdux likewise decided to call at about the same time: "a commodity bubble bottom at half book value on this stock."

Last but not least, the humbly named Alwayzwrong has so far been proven right on Metalico. Since picking the company in November, this CAPS All-Star has beaten the market silly with nine points of market outperformance. What got Alwayzwrong interested in Metalico late last year? "China no longer needs any steel. All the automakers are broke." Yet Metalico is: "Price/Book is 0.30x. The PEG is so low, I don't want to include it, because it will just upset me. Price to cash flow is 1.05x. More than that, this is a green company with great management. Forbes doesn't give 'Entrepreneur of the Year' to just anybody."

Back to the future
Of course, that was then. How does Metalico look now?

First off, let's point out that after its run-up, Metalico no longer trades for one-third its book value. The P/B has shot all the way up to 1.3. And yet, this valuation remains cheaper than what you'll find at steel producers like Nucor (NYSE:NUE) -- and a whole lot cheaper than auto salvage specialist Copart (NASDAQ:CPRT).

As far as profits go, Alwayzwrong no longer need fear the company's P/E -- because thanks to a $59 million goodwill writedown taken in last year's Q4, Metalico no longer has a trailing P/E.

What it does have, though, is beaucoup free cash flow. Over the last 12 months, this company has generated more than $65 million in free cash flow -- putting the lie to its apparent lack of profits. And really, folks, who needs a P/E when you're selling for 2.2 times free cash flow?

Time to chime in
If that sounds like a rhetorical question, it isn't. Personally, I'm intrigued by the ultra-low price-to-free cash flow ratio at this company. But the fact that it's paired with analyst expectations of 30% long-term growth ... well, the phrase "too good to be true" springs to mind.

Yet my reservations notwithstanding, Metalico has fast become one very popular stock on CAPS. In addition to the three super-investors quoted above, well more than 1,100 Fools of all stripes have called outperform on this company. Are you one of them? Or are you perhaps one of the lonely few skeptics who sees wisdom in breaking from the crowd? Either way, here's your chance to speak your piece on Metalico.

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Copart is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation and a Stock Advisor selection.

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