NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Big industrial machinery companies have taken a hit from currency pressures. The Dow Jones U.S. Industrial Machinery Index is down 5.3% so far this year compared to the broader index, which is down 2.53%.

That said there are still investments to be made in the sector. TheStreet analyzed which industrial machinery stocks present the best opportunity for investors looking for exposure to the sector.

TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary stock rating tool, projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

The 13 stocks on the list are all large-cap stocks (market capitalizations greater than $5 billion) and have a "buy" rating, with a B or better grade from TheStreet Ratings.

13. Dover Corp. (DOV) - Get Dover Corporation Report
Rating: Buy, B
2014 Return: -25.5%

Dover Corporation and its subsidiaries manufacture and sell a range of equipment and components, specialty systems, and support services. The company operates in four segments: Energy, Engineered Systems, Fluids, and Refrigeration & Food Equipment.

"We rate DOVER CORP (DOV) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: DOV Ratings Report

12. Flowserve Corp. (FLS) - Get Flowserve Corporation Report
Rating: Buy, B
2014 Return: -22.2%

Flowserve Corporation designs, manufactures, distributes, and services industrial flow management equipment.

"We rate FLOWSERVE CORP (FLS) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: FLS Ratings Report

11. Parker-Hannifin Corp. (PH) - Get Parker-Hannifin Corporation Report
Rating: Buy, B+
2014 Return: 0.66%

Parker-Hannifin Corporation manufactures and sells motion and control technologies and systems for various mobile, industrial, and aerospace markets worldwide. It operates through two segments, Diversified Industrial and Aerospace Systems.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PARKER-HANNIFIN CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PARKER-HANNIFIN CORP (PH) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PH Ratings Report

10. Pentair Plc (PNR) - Get Pentair plc Report
Rating: Buy, B+
2014 Return: -10.5%

Pentair plc operates as a diversified industrial manufacturing company in the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia, and other regions.

"We rate PENTAIR PLC (PNR) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PNR Ratings Report

9. Ingersoll-Rand PLC (IR) - Get Ingersoll-Rand Plc (IR) Report
Rating: Buy, A-
2014 Return: 3.6%

Ingersoll-Rand plc, together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, sells, and services a portfolio of industrial and commercial products in the United States and internationally. It operates through Climate and Industrial segments.

"We rate INGERSOLL-RAND PLC (IR) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: IR Ratings Report

8. Illinois Tool Works (ITW) - Get Illinois Tool Works Inc. (ITW) Report
Rating: Buy, A-
2014 Return: 13.2%

Illinois Tool Works Inc. produces and sells engineered fasteners and components, equipment and consumable systems, and specialty products.

"We rate ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS (ITW) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: ITW Ratings Report

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7. Lincoln Electric Holdings (LECO) - Get Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc. Report
Rating: Buy, A-
2014 Return: -3.2%

Lincoln Electric Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the design, manufacture, and sale of welding, cutting, and brazing products worldwide.

"We rate LINCOLN ELECTRIC HLDGS INC (LECO) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: LECO Ratings Report

6. Middleby Corp. (MIDD) - Get Middleby Corporation Report
Rating: Buy, A
2014 Return: 22.6%

The Middleby Corporation designs, manufactures, markets, distributes, and services commercial foodservice and food processing, and residential kitchen equipment in the United States, Canada, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America.

"We rate MIDDLEBY CORP (MIDD) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: MIDD Ratings Report

5. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK) - Get Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Report
Rating: Buy, A
2014 Return: 19.8%

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. provides power and hand tools, mechanical access solutions, and electronic security and monitoring systems for various industrial applications.

"We rate STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC (SWK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SWK Ratings Report

4. Xylem (XYL) - Get Xylem Inc. (XYL) Report
Rating: Buy, A
2014 Return: 10.1%

Xylem Inc. is engaged in the design, manufacture, and application of engineered technologies for the water and wastewater applications. The company operates in two segments, Water Infrastructure and Applied Water.

"We rate XYLEM INC (XYL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, impressive record of earnings per share growth and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: XYL Ratings Report

3. IDEX Corp. (IEX) - Get IDEX Corporation (IEX) Report
Rating: Buy, A
2014 Return: 5.8%

IDEX Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides various pumps, flow meters, other fluidics systems and components, and engineered products worldwide.

"We rate IDEX CORP (IEX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: IEX Ratings Report

2. Snap-On Inc. (SNA) - Get Snap-on Incorporated Report
Rating: Buy, A+
2014 Return: 26.3%

Snap-on Incorporated manufactures and markets tools, equipment, diagnostics, and repair information and systems solutions for professional users worldwide.

"We rate SNAP-ON INC (SNA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: SNA Ratings Report

1. Pall Corp. (PLL) - Get Piedmont Lithium Ltd Sponsored ADR Report
Rating: Buy, A+
2014 Return: 19%

Pall Corporation manufactures and markets filtration, separation, and purification products; and integrated systems solutions worldwide.

"We rate PALL CORP (PLL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

You can view the full analysis from the report here: PLL Ratings Report

- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

Follow @LKulikowski