Top Five Fast-Growth Large-Cap Stocks

These stocks, including Apple and Express Scripts, are rated buy by TheStreet Ratings.
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NEW YORK (Stockpickr) -- Large-cap companies are applauded often for safety but rarely for growth. Here are five buy-rated companies with exceptional growth rates and cheap shares. Analysts expect these companies, which have market capitalizations in excess of $5 billion, to increase profit by at least 12% in the coming year.

5. Apple

(AAPL) - Get Report

is a leading smart-phone maker.

The Numbers

: Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 177% to $2,330 million compared with the same quarter last year. In addition, Apple has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 69.7%. The gross profit margin for Apple is 43.3%, which we consider to be strong, and it has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 22.8% is above that of the industry average.

The Stock

: Apple is riding the product cycle wave, with the new iPhone 4G expected to build on strong iPad sales. Apple shares rose 78.6% during the past year, blowing away the major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 21, on par with its high-tech peers. Apple doesn't pay dividends.

4. O'Reilly Automotive

(ORLY) - Get Report

retails automotive aftermarket parts, equipment and other supplies.

The Numbers

: The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the specialty retail industry average. The net income increased by 55.1% when compared with the same quarter one year prior, rising from $62.84 million to $97.48 million. O'Reilly Automotive increased its bottom line by earning $2.23 per share, vs. $1.51 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings to $2.75 a share.

The Stock

: O'Reilly surged by 32.15% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the

S&P 500

index during the same period. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, similar to its specialty retail peers. The shares do not offer a dividend.

Who Owns O'Reilly? Ruane Cunniff Chuck Akre

3. Express Scripts

(ESRX)

provides a range of pharmacy benefit management services in North America.

The Numbers

: Express Scripts' very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 10.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenue leaped by 106%, and this growth appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share by 9.3% in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago.

The Stock

: Express Scripts advanced 67% during the past year. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 33, a premium to its health care provider peers. The shares do not pay a dividend.

2. Dollar Tree

(DLTR) - Get Report

operates discount variety stores selling items for $1.

The Numbers

: The gross profit margin for Dollar Tree is 38%, which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 4.7% is above that of the industry average. During the past fiscal year, Dollar Tree increased its bottom line by earning $3.57 a share vs. $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings to $4.45 a share.

The Stock

: Dollar Tree climbed 42% during the past year. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.5, a discount to its multi-line retail peers, which sell at an average ratio of 21. Dollar Tree shares have a dividend yield of zero.

1. Novo Nordisk

(NVO) - Get Report

develops drugs for diabetes care as well as other biopharmaceuticals targeted to other diseases.

The Numbers

: The gross profit margin for Novo Nordisk is currently very high, coming in at 80.6%, and increase from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 23.9% is above that of the industry average. Novo Nordisk has improved earnings per share by 29.1% in the most-recent quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings-per-share growth over the past two years, a trend we feel should continue. During the past fiscal year, Novo Nordisk increased its bottom line by earning $3.43 a share, vs. $2.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings to $3.90 a share.

The Stock

: Novo Nordisk climbed 55% during the past year, bringing its price-to-earnings ratio to 21, a premium to pharmaceutical industry peers. The shares offer a 1.26% dividend yield.

-- Written by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.

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Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TheStreet Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.