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 115,000-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

(5 max):




TCF Financial



Cathay General Bancorp



First American  (NYSE:FAF)



Marshall & Ilsley  (NYSE:MI)



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.

Everything bad is good again
Last week was … what's the word I'm looking for?

Insane. Illogical. Madness.

Actually, the English language fails me here. I'm going to have to reach for my trusty Russian dictionary to find just the right word here: Bardak -- a mess.

And in the aftermath, this is where we stand: with four disrespected stocks making the list of Wall Street's favorite equities. With only a single four-star general appearing for roll call. And that one -- well, let's just say I've got a few reservations about its presence here.

Nevertheless, the CAPS masses have spoken, and according to our collective wisdom, data miner infoGROUP, Inc. (nee "infoUSA") is apparently the stock we love best. Let's find out why (I admit, I'm kinda curious about this myself).

The bull case for infoGROUP
Let's begin with a brief introduction to the company, courtesy of MENGIV: "Info Group IUSA provides business and consumer data bases for sales leads. They recently installed a new CEO."

  • My fellow Fool (and CAPS All-Star) TMFPhila agreed just last month, calling infoGROUP a: "Classic PYAD stock. What's PYAD, you ask? P - P/E ratio 2/3 that of the S&P 500 average ... Y - Yield 50%> S&P 500 average ... A - Low Price-to-Book ... D - Modest/Manageable Debt."
  • And heck, even I once saw the merit in this one. At the risk of pomposity, quoting a two-year younger version of myself: "This company is a cash generating machine. Eventually, I expect CEO Gupta to either succeed in taking infoUSA private at a premium to today's price, or sell out to private equity that recognizes the company's value. This thesis may take some time to play out, however."

And now we've come full circle. Two years ago, I recognized value in infoUSA's cheap price and impressive profits. The only impediment, in my mind, was a CEO intent upon usurping that value for himself. But as MENGIV informs us, said CEO is no longer running the show (having resigned from his post as part of a litigation settlement agreement with company shareholders.)

So where does this leave us today? With a stock selling for a mere 10 P/E, and less than eight times free cash flow. Sure, those numbers lack the context of a long-term growth estimate (because the single analyst following infoGROUP does not presume to guess how fast it will grow over the next five years). That said, I suspect that infoGROUP's stable of marquee clients ranging from Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) to Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) to Google (NYSE:GOOG) to Yahoo! (NYSE:YHOO) bodes well for infoGROUP's prospects going forward.

Time to chime in
Of course, the aim of this column isn't just to tell you what I think about infoUSA -- and truth be told, I've already written enough about this company to last a lifetime. Now it's your turn. Do you see a future for infoGROUP? Click on over to Motley Fool CAPS and tell us what you think.

First American is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Rule Breakers recommendation.

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. 376 out of more than 115,000 players. The Fool has a disclosure policy.