NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're looking for companies to buy that have liquidity and little or no debt, with low probability of bankruptcy, we narrowed it down for you.

In times of market uncertainty, one safe haven for investors is companies that have strong balance sheets with little or no debt. These firms won't be left high and dry if liquidity dries up -- and they won't be affected all that much by interest rate increases.

Here are 4 mid-cap stocks with A+ ratings, which also have low debt and high total returns from TheStreet Quant Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary quant-based stock-rating tool.

The Street Quant Ratings rates every one of these stocks an A+, as well as a five-star ratings on solvency. These stocks were chosen from 4,300 different types of equities we rate.

TheStreet Ratings 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.

Check out which stocks made the list. And when you're done, be sure to read about which safe, A+ rated stocks you should buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on September 24, 2015 prices as of 12:07pm.

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PFBC

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4. Preferred Bank

(PFBC) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $440 million
Year-to-date return: 14.7%

Preferred Bank provides various commercial banking products and services to small and mid-sized businesses and their owners, entrepreneurs, real estate developers and investors, professionals, and high net worth individuals in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates PREFERRED BANK LOS ANGELES as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PREFERRED BANK LOS ANGELES (PFBC) 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 robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 30.06% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, PFBC should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • PREFERRED BANK LOS ANGELES has improved earnings per share by 22.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PREFERRED BANK LOS ANGELES increased its bottom line by earning $1.79 versus $1.43 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.10 versus $1.79).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 22.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $6.21 million to $7.59 million.
  • The gross profit margin for PREFERRED BANK LOS ANGELES is currently very high, coming in at 87.65%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 31.38% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
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JJSF

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3. J & J Snack Foods Corp.

(JJSF) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $2.2 billion
Year-to-date return: 7.3%

J & J Snack Foods Corp., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures, markets, and distributes various nutritional snack foods and beverages for the food service and retail supermarket industries in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

TheStreet Ratings team rates J & J SNACK FOODS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate J & J SNACK FOODS CORP (JJSF) 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, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • JJSF's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.00 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, JJSF has a quick ratio of 2.29, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Food Products industry average. The net income increased by 3.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $23.68 million to $24.46 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $37.38 million or 24.39% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.00%.
  • J & J SNACK FOODS CORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, J & J SNACK FOODS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.82 versus $3.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.89 versus $3.82).
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LANC

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2. Lancaster Colony Corporation

(LANC) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $2.7 billion
Year-to-date return: 6.22%

Lancaster Colony Corporation manufactures and markets specialty food products for the retail and foodservice markets in the United States.

TheStreet Ratings team rates LANCASTER COLONY CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LANCASTER COLONY CORP (LANC) 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, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • LANC has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.28, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • LANCASTER COLONY CORP has improved earnings per share by 22.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, LANCASTER COLONY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.71 versus $3.69 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.08 versus $3.71).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food Products industry. The net income increased by 19.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $21.33 million to $25.57 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $36.21 million or 19.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 9.00%.
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CBRL

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1. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

(CBRL) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $2.7 billion
Year-to-date return: 2.4%

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. develops and operates the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store concept in the United States. The company's Cracker Barrel stores consist of a restaurant with a gift shop. Its restaurants provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CRACKER BARREL OLD CTRY STOR as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CRACKER BARREL OLD CTRY STOR (CBRL) 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • CBRL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 44.78% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, CBRL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • CRACKER BARREL OLD CTRY STOR has improved earnings per share by 20.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, CRACKER BARREL OLD CTRY STOR increased its bottom line by earning $6.82 versus $5.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.25 versus $6.82).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry. The net income increased by 21.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $39.19 million to $47.40 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market, CRACKER BARREL OLD CTRY STOR's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.

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