Top 5 Mid-Cap Stocks for June 18 - TheStreet

Each business day, TheStreet.com Ratings TheStreet.com 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 is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today we focus on mid-caps. These are stocks of companies that have market capitalizations of $500 million to $10 billion 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.

Quality Systems

(QSII)

develops and markets healthcare information systems that automate medical and dental practices, networks of practices such as physician hospital organizations, ambulatory care centers, community health centers and medical and dental schools. We have

rated Quality Systems a buy

since November 2001 due to its efficiency, solvency and growth in revenue and net income. Solid stock price performance also supports this rating.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, the company reported that its revenues rose 28.4% year over year, surpassing the industry average of 2.8% growth. Net income also increased in the fourth quarter, rising 1.3% from $11.25 million to $11.4 million. The company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently, but we feel that it is poised for earnings-per-share growth in the coming year.

Compared to a year ago, Quality Systems' stock price has jumped 50.50%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that time frame. Although this increase has driven the stock to a level that is relatively expensive compared to the rest of the industry, we feel that the company's strengths justify the higher price level at this time. While no company is perfect, we do not currently see any significant weaknesses that are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook for this company.

Ralcorp Holdings

( RAH) is a Missouri-based company that manufactures, distributes and markets store-brand (private label) food products in the grocery, mass merchandise, drug and foodservice channels. Ralcorp has been

rated a buy

since February 2004. The rating is supported by the company's strong revenue, improved margins, higher earnings and healthy cash balance.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2009, the company reported that its revenue increased 48% year over year, driven by higher pricing and the acquisition of Post Foods. A decline in EPS implies that this growth did not appear to trickle down to the bottom line, but the company was still able to report a 82% surge in overall net income. A low debt-to-capital ratio of 0.38 implies successful debt management.

Ralcorp's share price has climbed 4% in 2009 and is up 13% from its March 11 low. Although higher interest expenses and deteriorated return on equity could restrict future performance, we expect that in most economic environments this stock still has good upside potential. It goes without saying, though, that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market.

Strayer Education

(STRA) - Get Report

is a for-profit post-secondary education services corporation that offers a variety of academic programs through wholly-owned Strayer University. Our

buy rating

for Strayer has not changed since March 2003 and is based on a variety of strengths that include the company's growth and its favorable returns, along with a surge in enrollment and a largely solid financial position.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2009, Strayer's revenue growth of 28.2% year over year slightly outpaced the industry average growth of 19.9%. This growth was driven by increased student enrollments and a 5% increase in tuition fees since January 2009. Revenue growth seems to have helped expand the company's bottom line, as earnings per share improved 26.2% when compared to the same quarter last year. Net income also increased, rising to $29.05 million from $23.52 million a year ago. Strayer's gross profit margin improvement of 128 basis points is a further sign of strength. Higher earnings combined with a lower asset and equity base to help drive returns on assets and equity higher in the first quarter. Stayer has no debt to speak of, giving it a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a favorable sign. In addition, a quick ratio of 1.47 indicates that the company should be able to avoid short-term cash problems.

Management stated that it was pleased with Strayer's first quarter financial performance and the strong student enrollment for the spring term. Strayer announced that its first quarter revenue and earnings results were records for the company. However, the company faces challenges from a deteriorating cash balance. In addition, the company incurred higher costs related to support the increase in student enrollments and building the Strayer University brand, and these costs could restrict the company's financial performance going forward. Finally, the company's stock is trading at a premium valuation, but we feel that the strengths detailed above justify the higher price point at this time.

Landauer

(LDR)

offers personnel radiation monitoring to measure the dosages of x-rays, gamma radiation and other penetrating ionizing radiation to which a person has been exposed. Our

buy rating

for Landauer has not changed since November 2001. The rating is supported by the company's revenue growth, notable return on equity, largely solid financial position, good cash flow from operations, and expanding profit margins.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2009, Landauer reported revenue growth of 5.1% year over year. This increased slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.8%. The company's net operating cash flow increased significantly in the second quarter, rising 110.95% to $14.08 million when compared with the same quarter a year ago. Landauer's net profit margin of 21.8% outperformed against the industry, and the gross profit margin is currently very high at 72.2%, although that does represent a slight decrease over the year-ago quarter. Landauer has no debt to speak of, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Its quick ratio of 1.86 demonstrates the company's ability to over short-term liquidity needs. An additional modest strength is the slight improvement in return on equity.

Management stated that it was pleased with Landauer's progress in the first half of fiscal 2009. The company currently expects aggregate revenue growth for the full year to be in the range of 3.0% to 5.0% and anticipates a net income increase in the range of 6.0% to 8.0%. Landauer's stock is currently trading at a premium valuation, but we feel the strengths detailed above justify the higher price level at this time.

Dollar Tree

(DLTR) - Get Report

operates discount variety stores in the United States, under the store names Dollar Tree, Deal$ and Dollar Bills. Our

buy rating

for this stock has not changed since May 2008. The rating is supported by the company's solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position, and growth in revenue, net income and EPS.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2009, Dollar Tree reported revenue growth of 14.2% year over year, which surpassed the industry average of 6.8%. EPS appears to have received a boost from this growth, as it improved 37.5% when compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, and we feel that this trend should continue. Net income increased 38.5% in the first quarter, rising from $43.6 million a year ago to $60.4 million. Dollar Tree's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.21, which implies that the company has successfully managed its debt levels.

Management stated it that is was pleased with the first quarter results, as increased customer traffic drove earnings and sales results beyond the company's previously stated guidance. Although almost any stock may fall in an overall down market, we consider this stock to have good upside potential in most other market conditions, despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year. The company may harbor some minor weaknesses, but we feel that they are unlikely to have a significant impact on Dollar Tree's future financial results.

Our quantitative rating, which can be viewed for any stock through our stock screener stock rating screener, is based on a variety of historical fundamental and pricing data and represents our opinion of a stock's risk-adjusted performance relative to other stocks. However, the rating does not incorporate all of the factors that can alter a stock's performance. For example, it doesn't always factor in recent corporate or industry events that could affect the stock price, nor does it include recent technology developments and competitive dynamics that may affect the company. For those reasons, we believe a rating alone cannot tell the whole story and should be part of an investor's overall research.