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Top Five Fast-Growth Stocks

Each business day, TheStreet.com Ratings compiles a list of the top five stocks in five categories -- fast-growth, all-around value, large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap -- and publishes these lists in the Ratings section of our Web site.

This list is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today, fast-growth stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies that are projected to increase revenue and profit by at least 12% in the coming year and rank near the top all stocks rated by our proprietary quantitative model, which looks at over 60 factors.

In addition, the stocks must be followed by at least one financial analyst who posts estimates on the Institutional Brokers' Estimate System. Please note that definitions of revenue vary by industry, and this screen does not make adjustments for acquisitions, which can materially affect posted results. Likewise, earnings-per-share growth may be affected by accounting charges, share repurchases and other one-time items.

Note that no provision is made for off-balance-sheet assets such as unrealized appreciation/depreciation of investments, market value of real estate or contingent liabilities that might affect book value. This could be material for some companies with large underfunded pension plans.

Becton Dickinson (BDX) is a medical technology company that manufactures and sells a broad range of medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products worldwide. The company has been rated buy since December 2005.

Becton Dickinson displayed healthy financial results in the fourth quarter of 2007, with total revenue increasing 12.8% to $1.65 billion due to strong segment sales and favorable currency movements. Net income increased 49.3% to $259.81 million due to top-line growth, margin expansion, and income from discontinued operations. Finally, the company increased its quarterly dividend by 16.3% to $0.28 per share.

Looking forward, we expect Becton Dickinson to benefit from its growth strategies, focusing on products that deliver greater benefits to users and achieving operating effectiveness and productivity to accelerate progress. In addition, the increased quarterly dividend combined with a share repurchase program and higher earnings expectations for fiscal 2008 should further increase the company's return on equity.

BlackRock (BLK), a publicly owned investment manager, has been rated buy since December 2005. Its products include a variety of fixed-income, cash management, equity and alternative investment separate accounts and mutual funds.

The company is reaping substantial benefits from its September 2006 merger with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers (MLIM) and the October, 2007 acquisition of the fund of funds business of Quellos Group, LLC, which have allowed it to become one of the world's largest asset management firms. The beneficial impact of these business combinations is reflected in the firm's cross-selling successes, which supported its top-line growth throughout fiscal 2007.

The company reported robust results for fiscal 2007 on Jan. 17, with assets under management up 21% at $1.36 billion as of the end of 2006. Along with the acquisition of the Quellos business, this helped drive revenue growth of 42% for the quarter and 131% for the year. The firm continues to focus on product diversification. It has made efforts to mitigate any damage to its results from current turmoil in the credit markets by adopting stricter risk-management procedures. Management feels that this focus will enable it to grow despite current challenging market conditions.

Our rating is subject to the risk of any unexpected downturn in the securities markets or the economy in general, any deterioration in relative investment performance, and any adverse regulatory developments. Furthermore, slowing trends in the U.S. economy and fluctuations in interest rates could adversely affect the company's performance.

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