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 170,000-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)

Exelixis (Nasdaq: EXEL)



Tenet Healthcare



Vivus (Nasdaq: VVUS)



Orexigen Therapeutics (Nasdaq: OREX)


** India (Nasdaq: REDF)



Companies are selected from the "Institutional Ownership Up Last Month" list published on MSN Money after close of trading on Friday. Recent price provided by Yahoo! Finance. CAPS ratings from Motley Fool CAPS.

Wall Street vs. Main Street
Up on Wall Street, the professionals think these are four stocks are the greatest things since sliced bread. (And by "bread," I mean money.) They're ...

Sadly, it appears most of our member think the professionals are fools to do so (and not the capital "F" kind, either.) Based on the ratings handed out by our 170,000-member -- and growing -- community, it appears the only one of these stocks with any chance of outperforming the market from this point onward:

CAPS All-Star RLBOWERSOX sees "dramatic promise for treatment of a prevalent and virulent cancer," in Exelixis. And this member's not the only one. CAPS member carsondyle points out that "insiders [are] buying" as well. The stock's gone nowhere but up since late August; yet as the cost has risen, so too has insider interest -- company officers and directors have increased their holdings of Exelixis stock by 15% over the past six months.

The question is: "Why?" CAPS member cabincruser offered one possible answer back in June. Since Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) pulled its support for Exelixis' XL184 cancer drug, "Exelixis has regained full rights to develop and commercialize XL184. So now that a lot of the R&D is done, they can find a new partner and hopefully pen a more profitable deal."

So, is this what's happening at Exelixis? Just like all the other stocks on today's list, Exelixis popped last week. Just like the rest, Wall Street support seems strong. But unlike the other companies, no one seems to know why this is happening for Exelixis. Strong clinical data showing XL184's efficacy came out weeks ago, but there's been little news since then. Rumors say we could be looking at anything from a new partnership announcement, to an actual buyout by a larger Big Pharma player -- but until we know more, it's hard to say exactly what is going on.

Foolish takeaway
In the meantime, though, I have to say that Exelixis looks like a pretty risky play. Unprofitable and burning cash, the company currently has more debt than cash on its balance sheet -- and at its present pace, it's on course to burn through every last dime it owns in a year.

Meanwhile, valuing the company on its sales (since we cannot value it on profit -- which it doesn't have), Exelixis today continues to look expensive relative to larger potential purchasers like Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) or Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). Whereas your average "Big Pharma" stock sells for a price-to-sales ratio of perhaps 1.7 or 2.0, Exelixis shares currently command a valuation of nearly 3.8x sales. Granted, once XL184 hits the market -- if it hits the market -- Exelixis' sales could skyrocket.

But does the blockbuster potential of XL184 justify the premium price on these shares? Tell us what you think over on Motley Fool CAPS.