Publish date: Ratings: Top 10 Large-Cap Stocks

Precision Castparts, Garmin and Vulcan Materials head up this week's list of top-rated stocks.

Each weekday, Ratings compiles a list of the top 10 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, we look at large-cap stocks. These are stocks of companies with market capitalizations of more than $10 billion that rank near the top of all stocks rated by our proprietary quantitative model, which looks at more than 60 factors.

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

Today we begin with

Precision Castparts


, a manufacturer of complex metal components and products for the aerospace and industrial gas turbine industries. It has been rated a buy since March 2005.

The company has completed recent acquisitions to expand its casting, forging and fastener products offerings, fueling revenue growth. Precision also shows strong cash flow that has enabled it to repay debt while maintaining its dividend payout.

Since Precision is dependent on the aerospace industry for its top-line growth, any slowdown in that industry could lead to reduced demand for its products. Any fluctuations in the prices of basic materials or any unseen difficulty integrating recent acquisitions could also be concerns.


(GRMN) - Get Garmin Ltd. (GRMN) Report

, which makes navigation, communications and information devices based on GPS technology, has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company has shown stellar revenue growth, notable return on equity, a two-year pattern of steady EPS growth, and is carrying no debt.

Though no company is perfect, we do not currently see any weaknesses that are likely to detract from the generally rosy outlook.

Vulcan Materials

(VMC) - Get Vulcan Materials Company Report

produces, distributes and sells construction aggregates, asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. It has been rated a buy since August 2006. The company has shown a pattern of EPS growth, improved return on equity, increases in net operating cash flow, revenue growth and a strong gross profit margin.

While Vulcan may show a few minor shortcomings, none are likely to have a significant impact on results.

Allegheny Technologies

(ATI) - Get Allegheny Technologies Incorporated Report

has been rated a buy since July 2005. The company produces specialty materials, including super stainless steel, nickel-based and cobalt-based alloys and other metals. The company displayed strong top-line performance, increased margins and maintained bottom-line expansion and reasonable debt levels.

Allegheny's future performance relies on continued growth opportunities for specialty metals from key markets, sustained cost reductions and the cost of raw material for key metals. Risks include an expected slowdown in demand for stainless products due to record-high nickel costs.

Steel manufacturer and retailer


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(NUE) - Get Nucor Corporation Report

has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company has shown strong financial performance driven by higher volume resulting from improved steel prices and higher steel shipments.

Nucor has shown exceptional shareholder returns due to improved return-on-equity, steady EPS growth and the recent acquisition of Harris Steel Group, which enhanced its market presence in reinforced steel bars, wire mesh and heavy industrial steel grating.

The principal risk to the rating is presented by any continued steel imports into the U.S. market, which could result in an inventory glut and hurt prices. Also, this when combined with any unexpected increase in steel scrap costs could hurt Nucor's operating margin.

Telephone titan


(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report

has rung up a buy rating since March 2006. This is based on a number of positive investment measures, including robust revenue growth, net income growth and notable cash flow. Its growth has been driven by acquisitions. The completion of the BellSouth acquisition will generate higher cash flow, and AT&T expects its wireless segment, which now includes all Cingular and BellSouth businesses, to deliver double-digit earnings growth in fiscal year 2007.

Risks to the buy rating include stiff competition from wireline and cable operators, merger-related challenges and a decline in return on equity, all of which could restrict the company's growth prospects.

Rated a buy since March 2005,

Kimco Realty

(KIM) - Get Kimco Realty Corporation (KIM) Report

has interests in more than 1,000 neighborhood and community shopping centers. It has shown a wide range of strengths, including steady revenue growth, solid stock performance, compelling growth in net income and reasonable debt levels.

The company's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 14.9% during its most recent quarter. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, as evidenced by a decline in earnings per share.

The company's strengths outweigh its disappointing return on equity.

Defense contractor

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) Report

has had a buy rating since March 2005, thanks to impressive EPS growth, solid stock price performance, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations.

These strengths outweigh the company's low profit margins.

Rated a buy since March 2005,

Rockwell Collins


provides design, production and support of communications and aviation electronics for military and commercial customers. The company has shown improved net income growth, strong EPS growth, increased net operating cash flow and reasonable debt levels by most measures.