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ManTech, MGE Energy, Ball: Top 5 Stocks

Stock quotes in this article: VLGEA, MGEE, BLL

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 annual revenue of more than $500 million, below-average valuations, debt that is less than 49% of total capital and receive "buy" ratings from our proprietary quantitative model, which considers more than 60 factors. They are ordered by their potential to appreciate, starting with the company with the best growth prospects.

Village Super Market (VLGEA) operates a ShopRite supermarket chain.

The numbers: Fiscal third-quarter net income increased 25% to $6.3 million, or 47 cents a share, as revenue increased 7% to $293 million. Same-store sales, a key gauge of retailer improvement, jumped 7%. Village Super Market's gross margin decreased from 28% to 27%, but its operating margin rose from 3% to 4%. The company has a modest $36 million debt load and over $47 million of cash, translating to a quick ratio of 0.8 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2.

The stock: Village Super Market is up 3% this year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17, a discount to the market and food retail peers. The shares pay a 2.9% dividend yield.

MGE Energy (MGEE) is a Wisconsin-based electric utility.

The numbers: Second-quarter net income dropped 6% to $10 million and earnings per share fell 10% to 43 cents, hurt by a higher share count. Revenue decreased 14% to $108 million. MGE's gross margin rose from 23% to 25% and its operating margin climbed from 15% to 16%. A quick ratio of 0.3 and $12 million of cash demonstrate weak liquidity. But a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 is lower than the industry average, indicating restrained leverage.

The stock: MGE has advanced 11% in 2009, more than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but less than the S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 16, a discount to the market and utility peers. The shares pay a 4% dividend yield, higher than the S&P 500 average.

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