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Top 5 Stocks: General Mills, Advanced Auto

Stocks in this article: AAPVLGEAGIS

UGI (UGI) distributes and markets energy products and services in the U.S. and internationally. The company also operates a heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration business serving customers in the Mid-Atlantic region.

The numbers: Fiscal second-quarter revenue dropped 10% to $2.1 billion as net income increased 25% to $158 million and earnings per share improved 24% to $1.45, marking an eight-quarter growth streak . A quick ratio of 0.9 indicates a less-than-ideal liquidity position and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.5 reflects sizable leverage. The operating margin improved to 17% and the net margin inched past 7% during the quarter.

The stock: UGI has climbed 8% in 2009, outperforming the Dow and S&P 500. Still, the stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio under 10, indicating a significant discount to the market, and offers a 3% dividend yield.

Village Super Market (VLGEA) operates a chain of ShopRite supermarkets in the U.S.

The numbers: Fiscal third-quarter revenue increased 7% to $293 million as net income increased 25% to $6.3 million and earnings per share climbed 24% to 47 cents. Same-store sales, an important gauge of year-over-year improvement, jumped more than 7%. The company has a modest $36 million debt load and over $47 million of cash, which works out to a quick ratio of 0.8 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2.

The stock: Village Super Market has climbed 3% in 2009, in line with the Dow. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17 and offers a 3% dividend yield.

General Mills (GIS) makes branded and packaged foods worldwide.

The numbers: Fiscal fourth-quarter revenue increased 5% to $3.6 billion as earnings doubled to $358 million, or $1.07 per share. The operating margin climbed from 9% to 20% and the net margin jumped from 5% to 10%. General Mills has a weak liquidity position, as reflected by a quick ratio of 0.5, but has added $99 million to the cash balance since the year-earlier quarter. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.4 indicates high leverage.

The stock: General Mills has dropped 4% in 2009, underperforming the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a fair price-to-earnings ratio of 15 and offers a 3.2% dividend yield. --Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston. Feedback can be sent to jake.lynch@thestreet.com.

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