Top Five Mid-Cap Stocks - TheStreet

Top Five Mid-Cap Stocks

Manitowoc, Acuity Brands top the list.
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Each weekday, 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, updated daily, is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today, mid-cap stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies with market capitalizations of between $500 million and $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.

First up is

Manitowoc

(MTW) - Get Report

, which manufactures and markets cranes and related products, food service equipment and marine products. It has been rated a buy since July 2005. The company demonstrates notable revenue growth, significant EPS improvement, impressive stock price appreciation and net income growth that has significantly outpaced that of the

S&P 500

and its industry.

Its price level is now somewhat expensive compared with the rest of its industry, but given the company's strengths, the higher price is justified.

Rated a buy since July 2005,

Acuity Brands

(AYI) - Get Report

manufactures lighting fixtures and specialty chemicals. The stock has surged by 51.70% in the 12 months prior to July 13, and it should continue to move higher even though it has enjoyed a nice gain in the past year. It has demonstrated a pattern of EPS growth over the past two years, a trend that should continue. Acuity's net income increased by 67.9% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2006, rising from $14.51 million to $24.36 million. While the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Greif

(GEF) - Get Report

manufactures and distributes industrial packaging products. It has been rated a buy since July 2005. In June, the company said second-quarter revenue rose by 31.4% compared with the same period last year. Greif also increased its fiscal 2007 earnings outlook, excluding items, to $3.08 a share. However, the company's EPS declined by 36.6% in the quarter compared with the year-ago period, and it has displayed somewhat volatile earnings of late. Still, TheStreet.com Ratings believes it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year.

Its strengths outweigh the company's subpar growth in net income.

Contracting and construction management services company

Perini Corporation

(PCR)

has been rated a buy since November 2006. It had a record backlog of $8.60 billion at the end of the first quarter of its fiscal 2007, which offers higher operating visibility because more than 90% of backlog consists of cost-plus/guaranteed maximum price contracts. Perini is rated among the top 10 U.S. contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Its revenue increased by 61.1% in the quarter compared with the same period last year, primarily due to significant new contracts in the hospitality and gaming market. Net income increased by 238.7% during the same period.

The buy rating is not risk-free, since its business is very cyclical in nature and sensitive to changes in macroeconomic conditions. Also, an increase in input costs or any delay in the completion of projects could shrink its margins.

FactSet Research Systems

(FDS) - Get Report

provides financial intelligence to the global investment community. The company shows robust revenue growth and has no debt to speak of. Powered by strong earnings growth of 36.58% in the third quarter of fiscal 2007, FactSet's stock has soared by 45.35% in the year prior to July 12. It has demonstrated a pattern of EPS growth over the past two years, a trend that should continue. FactSet's stock should continue to go higher even though it has already enjoyed a nice gain the last year. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.