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Each weekday, 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, updated daily, is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today, small-cap stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies that have market capitalizations of between $50 million and $500 million 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.

Today begins with

CAM Commerce Solutions

( CADA), which engages in the design, development, marketing, installation and servicing of integrated retailing and payment processing for brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses. It has been rated a buy since September 2005.

The company's earnings per share improved by 87.50% in the third quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, and it has no debt to speak of. CAM Commerce also saw third-quarter revenue increase by 25.5% over the year-earlier perod. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Washington Banking


is the holding company for Whidbey Island Bank, which provides community commercial banking services primarily in northwestern Washington. It has been rated a buy since October 2005. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. These strengths outweigh the company's subpar net income growth.

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The banking industry has been setting record profits. Yet the sector's strength has been lopsided, with growth largely coming from consumers rather than business lending. With interest rates moving higher, heavily indebted consumers could be hard-pressed to keep borrowing at such a rapid clip. This could cause problems, because the commercial and industrial lending industry is producing marginal profits.

Axsys Technologies

( AXYS), which makes optical system components, has been rated a buy since August 2005. With the threat of terrorism across the world, the need for advanced technology to secure borders is growing. However, only a fraction of more than 150,000 miles of international borders is equipped with the latest surveillance technology. This provides the company with huge business potential. Axsys' consistent focus on the core business, combined with increasing global border security concerns, should benefit the company going forward.

The buy rating is not risk-free. Axsys' success is largely dependent on its ability to anticipate and respond rapidly to changing technological developments in the industry. Moreover, a reduction or delay in the purchase of precision optical solutions by the U.S. government could have an impact on financial performance.


(NEOG) - Get Neogen Corporation Report

, which makes test kits for food and animal safety, has been rated a buy since September 2005. The company recently reported that first-quarter revenue increased 13% over a year ago to $22.9 million, while EPS improved by 19.3%.

Neogen has demonstrated a pattern of EPS growth over the past two years, and this trend is expected to continue. Net income increased by 25.1% to $3.01 million in the fiscal first quarter compared with the same period last year. The company has no debt to speak of, and it maintains a quick ratio of 2.64, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. Although no company is perfect, currently Ratings do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.


( ACTU) provides software and services for business intelligence, performance management and reporting applications. It has been rated a buy since September 2006. The company's strengths are seen in multiple areas, including its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures.

Actuate's stable EPS over the past year indicates that the company has sound management over its earnings and share float, and Ratings believe these figures will begin to experience more growth in the coming year. Although no company is perfect, Actuate does not currently demonstrate any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.