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Top Five Small-Cap Stocks: Stepan

Our buy rating for Balchem has not changed since June 2003. The company reported record quarterly results in net sales and net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Balchem achieved net sales of $56.9 million, reflecting a 34.9% increase compared to the same quarter one year prior. Net earnings increased 34.9% year-over-year to $4.6 million. As a result, the company's net earnings per diluted common share increased 31.6% to 25 cents a share from 19 cents a share in the first quarter of 2007.

Management reported that the integration of several acquisitions made during fiscal 2007 have gone well, and stated that the first quarter results did not yet reflect the company's full expectations for those acquisitions. Additionally, management noted again that rising raw material costs are expected to remain a challenge for Balchem in the near term. While the company has taken pricing steps to counteract the effects of these increased input costs, the actions taken in the first quarter did not offset all the cost increases, primarily due to timing. Overall, management expects the remainder of fiscal 2008 to continue to bring double digit increases in sales and earnings. Bear in mind, however, that global economic issues could affect the company's results.

Key Technology (KTEC - Get Report) designs, manufactures, sells and services process automation systems that integrate electro-optical inspection and sorting, specialized conveying, and product preparation equipment. Automated inspection systems are used in a various applications to detect and eliminate defects, most often during the processing of raw and semi-finished products.

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