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Top 5 Stocks: Hawkins, American Physicians

Stocks in this article: HWKN AMPH APSG

TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations using proprietary tools. Our "safety first" approach aims to reduce risk while achieving performance on a total return basis.

The following small-cap companies have market values between $50 million and $500 million and receive "buy" ratings from our proprietary quantitative model, which considers more than 60 factors. They are ordered by their potential to appreciate.

Hawkins (HWKN - Get Report) blends and distributes bulk and specialty chemicals for water treatment, and industrial and pharmaceutical use.

The numbers: Fiscal fourth-quarter revenue ascended 32% to $68 million as net income surged 194% to $5.1 million and earnings per share climbed 182% to 48 cents. Operating margin increased to 11% and net margin jumped to 7.5%. The company has zero debt and ample liquidity, as reflected by a quick ratio of 2.1.

The stock: Hawkins has risen 43% in 2009, outperforming all major U.S. indexes. Yet the stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio under 10, indicating a discount to the market. Hawkins pays a weak 0.3% dividend.

American Physicians Group (AMPH) provides medical liability insurance for physicians and health-care providers in Texas. The company also has an investment arm that provides advice and asset management to institutions and wealthy individuals.

The numbers: First-quarter revenue fell 2% to $19 million as net income increased 40% to $4.7 million and earnings per share jumped 46% to 67 cents. Operating margin surged to 38% and net margin climbed to 25%. The company boasts a minuscule debt load and has ample liquidity, as reflected by $38 million of cash.

The stock: American Physicians Group is up 4% in 2009, outperforming the Dow and the S&P 500. The stock is affordable at a price-to-earnings ratio under 8, but offers a small 1.3% dividend yield.

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