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 160,000-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)

inVentiv Health (Nasdaq: VTIV)



Radian Group (NYSE: RDN)



InterMune (Nasdaq: ITMN)



MGIC Investment



TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO)



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.

Jobless recovery? What jobless recovery? The Department of Labor reports that U.S. payrolls grew by 162,000 last month (thanks to a little help from 2010 Census hiring). The Dow's sitting just shy of 11,000, and optimism has returned to the markets.

Or not. Sure, Wall Street's gone on a buying spree in response to all this good news. But down here on Main Street, investors are shaking our heads in disbelief at what the pros are buying. Principal mortgage insurance provider MGIC ... in the middle of a housing crisis? Profitless InterMune, Radian, and TiVo? Just what are these professionals thinking?

At least there's one company that Wall Street and Main Street can agree on.

The bull case for InVentiv Health
CAPS All-Star investorpoet2 highlighted InVentiv's strengths for us back in September: "They serve the pharmaceutical industry." Nearly everyone in the industry uses InVentiv's services, including Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY), and Roche.

Our investor continues:

Through acquisition they have added more and more services, and through cross-selling are hoping to be a one-stop shop for many companies looking to outsource some of their business functions. ... Even if the company produces no organic growth over the next year, with their level of cash flow ... bolt on acquisitions should commence soon, leading to higher earnings and greater value for shareholders. I look for Inventiv to trade around 12-15x operating cash flow in 2010.

Fellow All-Star Hopel3ss agreed, predicting early last month: "Once the health care debate is over, this stock should take off again."

As akenst observes, InVentiv "is a good long-term play because well-run health care companies (and those servicing said companies ... inVentiv) are in a good position for growth as baby boomer retire."

Going once, going twice ...
They're not the only ones interested in InVentiv. Last Monday, we learned that the company has hired Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to advise it on a takeover bid by an unnamed "potential buyer." The confirmation sent InVentiv's stock up 11% in a matter of hours, and it hasn't looked back since.

Yet despite the sudden run-up, CAPS members continue to consider this stock a bargain. Wall Street's buying patterns suggest a similar opinion. Why?

Let's begin with the valuation. Alone on today's buy list, InVentiv earns profits. The company's P/E ratio hovers at a reasonable-sounding 16, and it sports an even more attractive price-to-free cash flow ratio of less than eight. Relative to the 15% long-term growth that Wall Street expects to see at the company, the worst I can say about the stock is that it might be fairly priced after the run-up.

From the P/FCF perspective, it still looks like a bargain to me. And if I can see value in the stock at today's price, so will other potential buyers. Goldman Sachs might be getting paid to dig them up and see whether they're interested in making a deal.

Time to chime in
I see every chance that InVentiv could move higher still, especially if Goldman can coax new bidders out of the woodwork. On the other hand, if the one interested party we know about drops out of the bidding, it's entirely possible that InVentiv's price will plunge. To me, that would make the stock even more of a bargain than it appears today.

Which scenario do you think more likely? Tell us on Motley Fool CAPS.

inVentiv Health is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation, a Stock Advisor choice, and a Motley Fool holding. InterMune is a former Rule Breakers recommendation.

Fool contributor Rich Smith  has no position in any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 775 out of more than 160,000 members. The Fool has a disclosure policy.