Stock Picks: Top Five Mid-Cap Stocks for July 31. - TheStreet

Stock Picks: Top Five Mid-Cap Stocks for July 31.

Amphenol, CIRCOR International, Gorman-Rupp, Flowserve and Badger Meter make the list.
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Each business day, Ratings compiles a list of the top five stocks in five categories -- fast-growth, all-around value, large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap -- and publishes these lists in the Ratings section of our Web site.

This list is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today we focus on mid-caps. These are stocks of companies that have market capitalizations of between $500 million and $10 billion that rank near the top of all stocks rated by our proprietary quantitative model, which looks at more than 60 factors.

The stocks must also be followed by at least one financial analyst who posts estimates on the Institutional Brokers' Estimate System. They are ordered by their potential to appreciate.

Note that no provision is made for off-balance-sheet assets such as unrealized appreciation/depreciation of investments, market value of real estate or contingent liabilities that might affect book value. This could be material for some companies with large underfunded pension plans.


(APH) - Get Report

designs, manufactures and markets electrical, electronic and fiber-optic connectors, interconnect systems and coaxial and flat-ribbon cable.

Our buy rating for Amphenol has been in place since June 2003. The company reported record earnings-per-share growth of 33% year over year for the second quarter of fiscal 2008, along with record sales that rose 23% to $846.8 million. The global communications, military and commercial aerospace markets performed particularly well for the company, although growth was broad based.

Net income for the second quarter rose to $110 million from $84 million a year ago. During the quarter, Amphenol broadened its technology offering in the military market by completing the acquisition of a U.S. manufacturer of audio interconnect products for that market. Additionally, the company's profitability and cash flow remained strong in the second quarter.

Looking ahead, Amphenol forecasts revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 in the range of $825 million to $840 million. In addition, earnings per share are expected to be in the range of 59 cents to 61 cents per share. The company raised its full-year 2008 revenue growth guidance to 15% to 16% year over year, or $3.28 billion to $3.31 billion.

Management reported continued strength in its business despite economic uncertainties and a generally moderate demand in certain markets. However, low profit margins could be a concern, as could any unfavorable changes, particularly in the communication and defense markets that are the company's highest revenue contributors.

CIRCOR International

(CIR) - Get Report

has been manufacturing an array of valves since the early 1900s. Valves range in application from generic products for heating and cooling to more specialized steam catapult valves on nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and cryogenic valves used in the space shuttle.

CIR has been rated a buy since November 2004. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings-per-share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and solid stock price performance. Earnings per share grew 69% for the first quarter of fiscal year 2008 when compared with the same quarter of fiscal 2007, which brought its three-year average earnings-per-share growth rate to a solid 48%.

The company reported 10% growth in its revenue over the same period, which trailed its industry average but allowed it to boost net income, which grew 74% for the interim. In addition, as of the market's close on May 20, 2008, CIR's share price has jumped 39% compared with its closing price of one year prior. The stock currently trades at a valuation level that is in line with its peer average and a discount to the

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We feel that the company's strengths outweigh the fact that CIR sports a relatively low operating profit margin, at 11% for the quarter just ended. In its release reporting first quarter results, the company indicated that its orders grew 27% year over year on the back of strength in its naval, aerospace and energy markets. Its backlog jumped 45% from the year-ago quarter. Management is guiding investors to expect earnings per share for the second quarter in the range of 74 cents to 83 cents, excluding special charges. This compares with 60 cents earned for the second quarter of fiscal 2007.


(GRC) - Get Report

designs, manufactures and sells pumps and related equipment for use in various liquid-handling applications, such as wells, wastewater, agricultural systems, fire protection and military uses. The company's pumps have a variety of uses, from pumping refined petroleum products for fueling aircraft and water for firefighting to ice-cube dispensing equipment and office copy machines.

Our buy rating Gorman-Rupp has not changed since November 2005. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue and net income growth, largely solid financial position and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 rose 6% year over year. The company's second-quarter net income of $7.9 million represents a 21% increase from the $6.54 million reported one year ago. As a result, the company was able to report EPS of 47 cents, representing a 19% improvement over the 39 cents per share reported in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

Improved operating leverage on additional sales, a favorable product sales mix and a lower effective tax rate helped Gorman-Rupp achieve its record earnings results for the second quarter. Additionally, the company reported record net sales, which resulted from continued increases in international sales. Finally, the company ended the quarter with no debt to speak of and a quick ratio of 2.63, which indicates that it has the ability to cover short-term cash needs.

Management announced that it was very encouraged by the number of new orders received during the first half of fiscal 2008, given current economic conditions. Bear in mind, however, that the machinery industry as a whole faces challenges from rising commodity costs. Customers have historically absorbed the commodity increases as surcharges that have helped cover the difference but there is no guarantee that this will continue. Although Gorman-Rupp's stock is currently trading at a premium valuation, we believe that the company's strengths justify the higher price levels at this time.


(FLS) - Get Report

engages in the development, manufacture and sale of precision-engineered flow equipments through three divisions: Flowserve Pump, Flow Control and Flow Solutions. The company operates worldwide in more than 56 countries, with 43% of its revenue coming from North America.

We have rated Flowserve a buy since January 2007 on the basis of several positive investment measures, such as the company's increasing revenue and net income. Additionally, the company reported record results in various areas including earnings per share, sales and bookings for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Flowserve's revenue rose 24% year over year in the first quarter, largely because of strong sales in the oil and gas markets. The company also reported that fully diluted earnings per share improved 159%, rising from 59 cents a year ago to $1.53. Furthermore, net income increased 162%, rising from $33.61 million to $88.07 million. Additionally, bookings were up 31% for the quarter.

Management raised its fiscal 2008 earnings per share forecast to a target range of $5.90 to $6.20 from its previous estimate of $5.10 to $5.40. The company is encouraged by its first-quarter results and its continued strength in key markets, and remains confident in its ability to successfully carry out its operational excellence initiatives to increase its performance in the current global environment.

Bear in mind, however, that the recent surge in commodity costs is a challenge to the machinery industry as a whole and could therefore affect Flowserve's results in the future.

Badger Meter

(BMI) - Get Report

manufactures and markets flow measurement and control products. These products measure a variety of liquids, such as water, oil and lubricants.

Badger has been rated a buy since August 2003. The company's strengths include its revenue growth, net income growth and solid return on equity. For the second quarter of fiscal 2008, Badger's revenue rose by 20% year over year. This growth appears to have trickled down to the bottom line, boosting earnings per share by 23%. Net income increased by 29% over the same period, rising from $5.47 million a year ago to $7.04 million. Finally, return on equity also improved slightly in the quarter from 18% to 22%.

Investors have begun to recognize Badger's strengths, including earnings growth. As a result, the company's shares have risen by a sharp 63% over the past year. While this makes the stock somewhat expensive compared with the rest of its industry, we believe that the company's strengths justify the higher price levels at this time. Bear in mind, however, that Badger's future performance could be affected by any regulatory changes, especially those dealing with the use of lead, which is used in the manufacture of certain meters, or the use and/or licensing of radio frequencies necessary for the company's automatic meter reading and advanced metering infrastructure products. Badger's future results could also be affected by the overall health of the U.S. economy, including housing starts and overall industrial activity, and any changes in foreign economic conditions, including currency exchange rates.

Our quantitative rating is based on a variety of historical fundamental and pricing data and represents our opinion of a stock's risk-adjusted performance relative to other stocks.

However, the rating does not incorporate all of the factors that can alter a stock's performance. For example, it doesn't always factor in recent corporate or industry events that could impact the stock price, nor does it include recent technology developments and competitive dynamics that may affect the company.

This article was written by a staff member of Ratings.