Skip to main content Ratings: Top Five Large-Cap Stocks

Precision Castparts and Nordstrom top this week's list of the highest-rated companies.

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, large-cap stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies with market capitalizations of over $10 billion that rank near the top of all stocks rated by Ratings' proprietary quantitative model, which looks at more than 60 factors. .

In addition, they must rank near the top of all stocks rated by Ratings' 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

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, which should fuel revenue growth. Precision also shows strong cash flow that has enabled it to repay debt while maintaining its dividend payout.

Since Precision depends 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 in integrating recent acquisitions could also be concerns.

Upscale department-store chain


(JWN) - Get Free Report

has had a buy rating since March 2005. Positives include a notable return on equity, a very low debt-to-equity ratio, increased net operating cash flow and expanding profit margins. Its revenue growth has outpaced the industry average.

Though no company is flawless, there are currently no major weaknesses likely to detract from its largely positive outlook.

Steel manufacturer and retailer


(NUE) - Get Free 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. Any unexpected increase in steel scrap costs could also hurt Nucor's operating margin.

Rated a buy since March 2005,


(PCAR) - Get Free Report

designs, manufactures and distributes light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and parts.

Paccar's strengths are seen in its striking revenue growth, expanded margins that led to a rise in net profits, and increased cash flow from operations. The company has shown superior stockholder returns over the past three years.

Since automobile manufacturers' production volumes depend on economic conditions and consumer confidence, any significant economic declines that cause reduced automotive production and sales would have a material adverse effect on Paccar's business and threaten the buy rating.

Supermarket chain



has been rated a buy since May 2006. The company has show a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, fueling impressive stock price growth, and net income growth that has significantly exceeded that of both the

S&P 500

and its industry.

These strengths outweigh the fact that the company displays generally poor debt management on most measures evaluated by Ratings.