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8 Top-Rated Stocks With the Best Earnings Outlooks

4. CVS Caremark (CVS)

Company profile: CVS, with a market value of $60 billion, is one of the nation's largest retail pharmacy chains now coupled with one of its biggest pharmacy benefit managers, after its 2007 merger with Caremark.

Dividend Yield: 1.35%

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 19% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 17%. S&P rates it "strong buy" with five stars and a $56 price target, which is a 19% premium to its current price of $47. Analysts give its shares 10 "buy" ratings, 10 "buy/holds," and four "holds," according to S&P.

Analysts' consensus estimate is for earnings of 80 cents per share in the second quarter, an 11% rise year-over-year, on the way to $3.33 per share for the year, a rise of 13% over last year.

3. International Business Machines (IBM)

Company profile: IBM is one of the world's largest and most respected information technology companies. Its product line includes system hardware, infrastructure software, outsourcing, and systems integration services. Customers tend to stick with Big Blue after spending on one of its typically expensive systems, which means steady, recurring revenue for the company. Its geographic and product diversity helps it stay stable and predictable in any economy.

Dividend Yield: 1.44%

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 7.4% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 26%. Analysts give its shares eight "buy" ratings, four "buy/holds," 15 "holds," one "weak hold," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

S&P has it "buy" rated with four stars and a $227 price target, which is a 16% premium to the current price. Analysts' consensus estimate is for earnings of $15.05 per share this year, which is 15% growth, and $16.52 next year, or 10% growth. IBM has set a goal of operating earnings of $20 per share by 2015.

2. Fastenal (FAST)

Company profile: Fastenal, with a market value of $12 billion, provides building industry and industrial customers with all types of fasteners such as nails and screws as well as general-purpose maintenance, repair, and operations items. With more than 2,600 store and distribution locations, it generated $2.8 billion in revenue in 2011. The company's results are closely tied to that of the construction industry, which is performing slower than expected.

Dividend Yield: 1.67%

Investor takeaway: Its shares are down 6% this year, but have a three-year, average annual return of 39% and over 15 years have an average annual return of 18%, one of the best records you will find. Analysts give its shares two "buy" ratings, nine "holds," and two "weak holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

S&P has it rated "strong buy," with five stars and a $60 price target, which is a 48% premium to its current price of $40.68. For fiscal 2012, analysts estimate it will earn $1.44 per share, including 37 cents in the second quarter, which is up 19% over last year. It's expected to grow annual earnings by 19% to $1.71 per share in 2013.

1. Walt Disney (DIS)

Company profile: Walt Disney, with a market value of $86 billion, is a media and entertainment conglomerate with diversified global operations in theme parks, cruise lines, filmed entertainment, television broadcasting and merchandise licensing. Media networks make up 46% of revenues and 70% of operating earnings and include the ABC broadcast network; 10 TV stations; and majority stakes in the cable networks ESPN, The Disney Channel and ABC Family.

Dividend Yield: 1.25%

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 28% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 29%. Analysts give its shares nine "buy" ratings, 10 "buy/holds," and 15 "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. S&P has it rated "strong buy" with five stars and a $52 price target, an 8% premium to the current price. Analysts expect it to earn $2.99 per share this fiscal year (it reported 63 cents in its second fiscal quarter) up 19% from last year.

Stock quotes in this article: FAST, IBM, ADP, CVS, NKE, TGT, DIS, CHRW 
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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