TheStreet.com Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations using proprietary tools. Our "safety first" approach aims to reduce risk while achieving total return performance.

BOSTON (

TheStreet

) -- The following companies have market values of $50 million to $500 million and receive "buy" ratings from our proprietary quantitative model, which considers more than 60 factors. They're ordered by their potential to appreciate, starting with the company with the best growth prospects.

Hawkins

(HWKN) - Get Report

makes specialty chemicals.

The numbers

: Fiscal first-quarter profit increased 24% to $6.1 million, or 58 cents a share, as revenue grew 18% to $74 million. Its gross margin remained steady at 24% and its operating margin advanced from 12% to 13%. Hawkins has an ideal financial position, with no debt and ample liquidity, evident in its quick ratio of 2.8.

The stock

: Hawkins has increased 50% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 10, a discount to the market and chemical peers. Shares pay a 2.4% dividend yield.

American Physicians Service Group

(AMPH) - Get Report

provides medical-liability insurance and investment-management services.

The numbers

: Second-quarter profit decreased 20% to $4.9 million, or 70 cents a share, as revenue declined 13% to $20 million. Its gross margin fell from 58% to 44% and its operating margin dropped from 51% to 38%. The company has an ideal financial position, with $46 million of cash, compared to $6.5 million of debt.

The stock

: American Physicians Service Group is up 19% this year, beating the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

and matching the

S&P 500 Index

. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 9, a discount to the market and insurance peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

The First of Long Island

(FLIC) - Get Report

is a commercial bank in New York.

The numbers

: Second-quarter profit increased 3% to $3.4 million, or 47 cents a share, as revenue grew 13% to $18 million. Its gross margin was unchanged at 73%, but its operating margin declined from 35% to 34%. The company is adequately capitalized, evident in its risk-based capital ratio of 17%. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.5 indicates higher-than-ideal leverage.

The stock

: The First of Long Island has increased 10% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 14, a discount to the market and regional banking peers. Shares pay a 3.1% dividend yield.

PetMed Express

(PETS) - Get Report

sells prescription and non-prescription pet medications.

The numbers

: Fiscal second-quarter net income increased 8% to $6.3 million and earnings per share jumped 12% to 28 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue grew 5% to $62 million. PetMed's gross margin remained steady at 38%, but its operating margin rose from 14% to 15%. The company has an ideal financial position, with $56 million of cash and no debt.

The stock

: PetMed is down 8% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15, a discount to the market and internet retail peers. Shares pay a 2.5% dividend yield.

Continucare

( CNU) provides outpatient primary-care services.

The numbers

: Fiscal fourth-quarter net income increased 52% to $4.8 million and earnings per share climbed 60% to 8 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue grew 14% to $75 million. Its gross margin rose from 20% to 21% and its operating margin increased from 8% to 11%. The company has an ideal financial position, with $14 million of cash and minimal debt.

The stock

: Continucare is up 36% this year, beating major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 12, a discount to the market and health care service peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

TSC Ratings was given an award this year for "Best Stock Selection" among independent research providers by BNY ConvergEx Group. A rating can be viewed for any stock through our

screener

. Ratings are derived from a variety of fundamental and pricing figures and represent our opinion of risk-adjusted performance. However, the rating doesn't incorporate all factors that can alter a stock's performance.

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.