TheStreet.com Ratings: Top 10 Large-Cap Stocks - TheStreet

Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings compiles a list of the top 10 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, we look at large-cap stocks. These are stocks of companies with market capitalizations of over $10 billion that rank near the top of all stocks rated by our proprietary quantitative model, which looks at more than 62 factors.

In addition, the stocks must be followed by at least one financial analyst who posts estimates on the Institutional Brokers' Estimate System. The stocks are ordered by their potential to appreciate.

Today begins with hotelier

Marriott

(MAR) - Get Report

, which has earned a buy rating since March 2005. The company's strengths include solid stock price performance, increased net operating cash flow and a low debt-to-equity ratio.

These strengths outweigh the company's subpar net income growth.

CSX

(CSX) - Get Report

is the owner of one of the largest rail networks in the U.S, and has been rated a buy since March 2005. It has displayed strong revenue growth, impressive EPS increases and significantly improved net operating cash flow.

These strengths outweigh the company's low profit margins.

Telephone titan

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

has rung up a buy rating since March 2006. This is based on a number of positive investment measures, including robust revenue growth, net income growth and notable cash flow.

The company's growth has been driven by acquisitions. The completion of the BellSouth acquisition will generate higher cash flow, and AT&T expects its wireless segment, which now includes all Cingular and BellSouth businesses, to deliver double-digit earnings growth in 2007.

Risks to the buy rating include stiff competition from wireline and cable operators, merger-related challenges and a decline in return on equity, all of which could restrict the company's growth prospects.

Steel manufacturer and retailer

Nucor

(NUE) - Get Report

has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company has shown strong financial performance driven by higher volume resulting from improved steel prices and higher steel shipments.

Nucor has shown exceptional shareholder returns due to improved return-on-equity, steady EPS growth and the recent acquisition of Harris Steel Group, which enhanced its market presence in reinforced steel bars, wire mesh and heavy industrial steel grating.

The principal risk to the rating is presented by any continued steel imports into the U.S. market, which could result in an inventory glut and hurt prices. Any unexpected increase in steel scrap costs could also hurt Nucor's operating margin.

Retailer

J.C. Penney

(JCP) - Get Report

has been rated a buy since November 2005. The company's strengths include solid shareholder returns, propelled by its healthy top- and bottom-line growth. Its recent merchandising initiatives aimed at more affluent customers are expected to continue the company's positive performance. It has also shown superior return on equity.

The recent introduction of trendy new brands by competitors such as

Kohl's

(KSS) - Get Report

and

Target

(TGT) - Get Report

could threaten the buy rating, as could competition from

Federated Dept Stores

( FD) or Penney's failure to react quickly to changing fashion trends.

Vulcan Materials

(VMC) - Get Report

produces, distributes and sells construction aggregates, asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. It has been rated a buy since August 2006. The company has shown a pattern of EPS growth, improved return on equity, increases in net operating cash flow, revenue growth and a strong gross profit margin.

While Vulcan may show a few minor shortcomings, none are likely to have a significant impact on results.

Allegheny Technologies

(ATI) - Get Report

has been rated a buy since July 2005. The company produces specialty materials, including super stainless steel, nickel- and cobalt-based alloys and other metals. The company displayed strong top-line performance, increased margins and maintained bottom-line expansion and reasonable debt levels.

Allegheny's future performance relies on continued growth opportunities for specialty metals from key markets, sustained cost reductions and the cost of raw material for key metals. Risks include an expected slowdown in demand for stainless products due to record-high nickel costs.

Rated a buy since March 2005,

Paccar

(PCAR) - Get Report

designs, manufactures and distributes light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks and parts.

Paccar's strengths are seen in a convergence of positive investment measures, including striking revenue growth, expanded margins that led to a rise in net profits and increased cash flow from operations. The company has shown superior stockholder returns over the past three years.

Since automobile manufacturers' production volumes depend on economic conditions and consumer confidence, any significant economic declines that cause reduced automotive production and sales would have a material adverse effect on Paccar's business and threaten the buy rating.

Department store retailer

Nordstrom

(JWN) - Get Report

has had a buy rating since March 2005. Positives include a notable return on equity, a very low debt-to-equity ratio, increased net operating cash flow and expanding profit margins. Revenue growth was 14.4%, which significantly outpaced the industry average of 5.4% for the most recent quarter.

Though no company is flawless, there are currently no major weaknesses likely to detract from its largely positive outlook.

Defense contractor

Lockheed Martin

(LMT) - Get Report

has had a buy rating since March 2005, thanks to impressive EPS growth, solid stock price performance, notable return on equity and good cash flow from operations.

These strengths outweigh the company's low profit margins.