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 mid-cap companies have market values between $500 million and $10 billion 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.

Lance

(LNCE)

makes snack foods, including Cape Cod Potato Chips and Archway Cookies.

The numbers

: Second-quarter net income surged 252% to $9.5 million as earnings per share grew 233% to 30 cents, restrained by a higher share count. Revenue grew 11% to $237 million. Its gross margin jumped from 41% to 44% and its operating margin rose from 3% to 7%. A quick ratio of 1.1 indicates adequate liquidity and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.4 demonstrates restrained leverage.

The stock

: Lance has advanced 14% in 2009, beating the

Dow Jones Industrial Average

, but underperforming the

S&P 500 Index

. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 28, a premium to the market, but a discount to packaged-food peers. The shares pay a 2.5% dividend yield.

Pegasystems

(PEGA) - Get Report

sells software to automate business processes.

The numbers

: Second-quarter net income surged 294% to $11 million and earnings per share increased 275% to 30 cents. Revenue rose 25% to $64 million. Its gross margin advanced from 59% to 66% and its operating margin grew from 5% to 18%. Pegasystems has outstanding liquidity, evident in its quick ratio of 3.9, and no debt.

The stock

: Pegasystems has rocketed 165% this year, easily beating major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 49, a premium to the market and application-software peers. The shares pay a 0.4% dividend yield.

Monro Muffler Brake

(MNRO) - Get Report

provides undercar repair and tire services.

The numbers

: Fiscal first-quarter profit increased 21% to $9.4 million, or 46 cents a share, as revenue grew 6% to $128 million. Its gross margin rose from 46% to 48% and its operating margin climbed from 12% to 13%. The company has weak liquidity, evident in its quick ratio of 0.1. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 indicates conservative leverage.

The stock

: Monro Muffler Brake is up 19% this year, beating the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 24, a premium to the market and auto retail peers. The shares pay a 0.9% dividend yield.

Rollins

(ROL) - Get Report

provides pest- and termite-control services.

The numbers

: Second-quarter net income increased 12% to $25 million and earnings per share rose 13% to 26 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue remained steady at $284 million. Its gross margin rose from 49% to 50% and its operating margin climbed from 14% to 15%. Although Rollins has a weak liquidity position, evident in its quick ratio of 0.4, it has a modest debt load, reflected in its debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2.

The stock

: Rollins is up 3% this year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 25, a premium to the market and environmental service peers. Shares pay a 1.5% dividend yield.

Ralcorp

( RAH) sells generic food products and the Post cereal brands.

The numbers

: Fiscal third-quarter net income increased 63% to $75 million, but earnings per share fell 24% to $1.31 due to a higher share count. Revenue grew 51% to $994 million. Its gross margin rose from 21% to 31% and its operating margin climbed from 7% to 14%. A quick ratio of 0.8 indicates less-than-ideal liquidity. But a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.6 demonstrates conservative leverage.

The stock

: Ralcorp has advanced 6% 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 packaged food peers. The company does not 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.