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NCI, Monro Muffler: Top 5 Small-Cap Stocks

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

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- The following companies have market capitalizations between $50 million and $500 million and "buy" ratings from our proprietary quantitative model, which considers more than 60 factors. They're ordered by their potential to rise, starting with the stock with most likely to gain.

Monro Muffler Brake (MNRO) repairs cars and sells tires.

The numbers: Fiscal first-quarter net income jumped 21% to $9.4 million, or 46 cents a share, as revenue increased 6% to $128 million. Its operating margin rose from 12% to 13% and its net margin inched past 7%. Monro has a weak cash position, with just $3 million of reserves. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 demonstrates conservative leverage.

The stock: Monro is down 1% this year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, a slight premium to the market, and offers a 1.1% dividend yield, less than the average of S&P 500 companies. Monro is benefitting as budget-conscious consumers fix their cars instead of buying new ones.

PetMed Express (PETS) sells medications and health products for dogs, cats and horses.

The numbers: Fiscal first-quarter net income grew 22% to $8.1 million and earnings per share climbed 29% to 36 cents, helped by a lower share count. Revenue increased 13% to $77 million. Its operating margin increased from 14% to 16% and its net margin topped 10%. A quick ratio of 3.7 indicates outstanding liquidity. The company has no debt.

The stock: PetMed is up 4% this year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a fair price-to-earnings ratio of 17, but the company doesn't consistently pay dividends.

Stock quotes in this article: MNRO, PETS, NCIT 

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