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Top Five Mid-Cap Stocks for Oct. 9

Perrigo, Buckle, Landauer, Church & Dwight and II-VI make the list.

Each business day, Ratings compiles a list of the top five stocks in five categories -- fast-growth, all-around value, large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap -- 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. In addition, 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.


(PRGO) - Get Free Report

is a global health care supplier that manufactures over-the-counter pharmaceutical and nutritional products for the store-brand market. We have rated Perrigo a buy since March 2007 due to a variety of strengths.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, the company reported that its revenue rose 32.3% year over year. This growth appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, boosting EPS from 20 cents in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 to 30 cents in the most recent quarter. Net income also increased, rising 46.5% when compared with the same quarter last year. In addition, Perrigo increased its net operating cash flow by 106.00% year over year.

Management was pleased to announce that its team's efforts resulted in fiscal 2008's sales and earnings results being the best in the company's 120-year history. The company intends to grow its business while maintaining a focus on quality in 2009.

Additionally, Perrigo announced on Oct. 6 that it had acquired the Mexican company Laboratorios Diba, which manufactures store-brand over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals. According to management, the acquisition could add nearly $15 million in annual sales and allow Perrigo to expand the number of formulas and trademarks that it markets in Mexico. While Perrigo may harbor some minor weaknesses, we do not see these as having any significant impact on its future financial results.

The Buckle

(BKE) - Get Free Report

markets casual apparel such as denim, sportswear, outerwear, accessories and footwear under the brand names Buckle and The Buckle and operates more than 370 retail stores targeted at young men and women in the U.S. The Buckle has been rated a buy since May 2003, primarily because of its solid financial position and growth in revenue, net income and EPS.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2008, the company's revenue rose 36.6% year over year. The company improved its EPS from 38 cents per share to 78 cents per share over the same period. Net income also increased by 88.9%, rising from $11.79 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007 to $22.28 million in the most recent quarter. The Buckle reported a gross profit margin of 44.50%, which also increased from the same quarter one year prior.

Additionally, the company is clearly able to cover its short-term cash needs, as it has no debt to speak of, as indicated by a quick ratio of 2.50 and a debt-to-equity ratio of zero. Finally, on Sept. 16 the company announced that at its quarterly meeting, the board of directors authorized a special one-time cash dividend of $3 per share, along with a 30-cent-per-share quarterly dividend. A 3-for-2 stock split was also authorized at that time.

While no company is perfect, we currently do not see any significant weaknesses that are likely to detract from this company's generally positive outlook. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the specialty retail industry as a whole could face pressures from a continued housing market contraction or a slowing economy. Such events could lead to a more challenging business environment that could potentially affect The Buckle's results and therefore our buy rating.



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, which has not changed since November 2001, is supported by the company's revenue growth, largely solid financial position and increases in net income and EPS.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2008, Landauer reported that its revenue rose 6.4% year over year. This appears to have helped boost EPS, which improved by 47.6% when compared with the same quarter a year ago. Net income also increased for the third quarter, rising 48.3% from $3.91 million to $5.79 million.

Landauer has no debt to speak of, and with a quick ratio of 1.69, it should be able to cover its short-term liquidity needs. Additionally, Landauer also increased its net operating cash flow slightly by 5.24% when compared with the same quarter last year.

Management announced that it was pleased with the revenue and earnings growth during the third quarter and expressed confidence in the company's ability to continue generating strong cash flow. Landauer now anticipates full-year fiscal 2008 results at the upper end of previously announced ranges of 4% to 5% growth in revenue and 6% to 8% growth in net income.

Church & Dwight

(CHD) - Get Free Report

develops, manufactures and markets household, personal care and specialty products under well-recognized brand names such as Arm & Hammer, Brillo, Kaboom, OxiClean and Trojan. We have rated Church & Dwight a buy since November 2001, supported by the company's impressive revenue growth, healthy liquidity position, increased net income and key strategic initiatives. The company's strengths also include its higher returns, improved leverage levels and favorable business outlook.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2008, Church & Dwight reported revenue growth of 8.7% year over year, led by organic growth and favorable currency exchange. Net income rose from $40.53 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007 to $45.77 million in the most recent period, while EPS improved from 59 cents to 66 cents over the same period. The company's equity increased 23.3% to $1.20 million, while its debt dropped 15.4% to $7.4 billion. Returns on assets and equity improved 102 and 21 basis points, respectively.

Church & Dwight recently acquired Coty's over-the-counter business Del Pharmaceuticals. In addition, the company plans to set up its laundry plant and distribution center in Pennsylvania. Looking forward to full-year fiscal 2008, the company raised its EPS guidance to a range of $2.83 to $2.85 and forecast organic revenue growth beyond 3% to 4%.

Bear in mind, however, that failure to achieve revenue from new products and increased prices may pose a threat to Church & Dwight's future financial performance. In addition, a decrease in demand for the company's products due to the slowdown in the U.S. economy could negatively impact revenue growth.


(IIVI) - Get Free Report

develops, manufactures and markets high-technology materials and derivative products for precision use in industrial, medical, military, security and aerospace applications. Our rating for II-VI has been in place since October 2006. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and solid stock price performance.

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008, the company reported revenue growth of 31.4% year over year. This growth helped boost EPS from 37 cents in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 to 50 cents in the most recent quarter. II-VI has a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.01, indicating very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company demonstrates the ability to cover its short-term cash needs, as shown by its quick ratio of 2.77.

Powered by its strong earnings growth of 35.13% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 26.09% over the past year. We feel that the company's strengths outweigh the fact that it shows weak operating cash flow.

Our quantitative rating 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.

This article was written by a staff member of Ratings.