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Top 5 Fast-Growth Stocks With 'Buy' Ratings

Healthcare Services Group, Lincoln Educational Services, Bio-Reference Laboratories, DeVry and Strayer are rated 'buy.'
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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Growth stocks are on investors' radar as the U.S. pulls itself out of a slump. Here are five "buy"-rated companies with a record of exceptional growth. Analysts expect them to increase profit by at least 12% in 2010.

5. Healthcare Services Group

(HCSG) - Get Report

provides housekeeping, laundry and food services to hospitals.

The numbers

: Fourth-quarter profit decreased 9.9% to $6.6 million, or 15 cents a share, as revenue grew 18% to $183 million. The company's operating margin slimmed from 7.3% to 5.4%. Healthcare Services Group holds $84 million of cash and no debt.

The stock

: Healthcare Services Group has increased 38% over the past year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 32, a premium to commercial-services peers. The shares offer a 3.8% dividend yield.

4. Lincoln Educational Services

(LINC) - Get Report

provides career education. The company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results March 3.

The numbers

: Third-quarter profit more than doubled to $14 million, or 50 cents a share, as revenue grew 48% to $148 million. Lincoln's operating margin stretched from 10% to 16%. Its balance sheet houses $38 million of cash and $37 million of debt.

The stock

: Lincoln has increased 45% over the past year, more than the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and

S&P 500 Index

. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 14, a discount to diversified consumer-services peers. Lincoln doesn't pay dividends.

3. Bio-Reference Laboratories

TST Recommends

(BRLI)

provides clinical-testing services in the New York metropolitan area.

The numbers

: Fiscal fourth-quarter profit increased 37% to $7.2 million, or 51 cents a share, as revenue advanced 26% to $102 million. The company's operating margin ascended from 12% to 13%. Bio-Reference possesses $17 million of cash and $24 million of debt.

The stock

: Bio-Reference has increased 58% over the past 12 months, outpacing U.S. benchmarks. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 26, a premium to health-care-services peers. Bio-Reference doesn't pay dividends.

2. DeVry

(DV)

is a for-profit educator.

The numbers

: Fiscal second-quarter profit increased 69% to $72 million, or $1 a share, as revenue grew 28% to $473 million. DeVry's operating margin widened from 17% to 23%. Its balance sheet contains $389 million of cash and $45 million of debt.

The stock

: DeVry has advanced 13% over the past year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, a discount to diversified consumer-services peers. The shares offer a 0.3% dividend yield.

1. Strayer

(STRA) - Get Report

is an online and classroom educator.

The numbers

: Fourth-quarter profit increased 32% to $32 million, or $2.32 a share, as revenue climbed 29% to $147 million. Strayer's operating margin inched up from 35% to 36%. The company holds $117 million of cash and no debt.

The stock

: Strayer advanced 14% over the past year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 29, a premium to diversified consumer-services peers. The shares offer a 1.4% dividend yield.

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