13 Best Small- and Mid-Cap Stocks to Buy for 2016

Editors' Pick: Originally published Dec. 30.

Risk-averse investors often flock to large-cap stock holdings for safety and stability, but mid-cap and small-cap stocks can provide return-friendly diversification.

Mid-cap stocks combine attributes of both large and small companies. Similar to large companies, these mid-size companies can have seasoned management teams, a strong market presence and access to capital markets, for instance. They can also grow quickly, with fewer layers of management and bureaucracy, and offer a more entrepreneurial spirit than large competitors, according to TIAA-CREF.

Small-cap stocks have their advantages too, says Morningstar. The stocks have potential to deliver high returns, but investors must also be patient with small-cap stocks that tend to be volatile as they grow (and possibly endure setbacks) and adjust to market sentiment (and being a public company).

Both mid-cap and small-cap companies can also be potential takeout targets to larger competitors, another possible reason for owning the stocks.

The proof is in the pudding for these 13 buy-rated stocks.

The companies on this list all have market capitalizations below $5 billion and are rated "Buy, A+" by TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool. To drill down even further, these companies were also identified as having high growth and high total returns, with each garnering five out of five stars in those categories from TheStreet Ratings.

TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equity market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Here's the list of mid-cap stocks to buy. When you're done be sure to check out Jefferies' 17 favorite U.S. stocks.

 

 

 

 

 

1. Atrion
1. Atrion

Industry: Health Care/Health Care Supplies
Market Cap: $704 million
12-Month Total Return: 14.5%

Atrion Corporation (ATRI) , together with its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and sells fluid delivery devices, and ophthalmic and cardiovascular products for medical applications primarily in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 4.4%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 5%
12-Month EPS Growth: 10.1%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate ATRION CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • ATRION CORP has improved earnings per share by 7.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, ATRION CORP increased its bottom line by earning $14.08 versus $13.18 in the prior year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry average. The net income increased by 1.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $7.69 million to $7.80 million.
  • ATRI's revenue growth trails the industry average of 30.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • ATRI has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.04, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ATRI

2. BNC Bancorp
2. BNC Bancorp

Industry: Financial Services/Regional Banks
Market Cap: $1 billion
12-Month Total Return: 50.4%

BNC Bancorp (BNCN) operates as the bank holding company for Bank of North Carolina that provides commercial banking products and services to individuals, and small- to medium-size businesses.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 24.3%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 66.5%
12-Month EPS Growth: 41.2%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate BNC BANCORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 32.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • BNC BANCORP has improved earnings per share by 10.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BNC BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.01 versus $0.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.32 versus $1.01).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 44.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.27 million to $11.94 million.
  • The gross profit margin for BNC BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 88.39%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, BNCN's net profit margin of 19.10% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 155.73% to $18.80 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 155.73%, BNC BANCORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 302.97%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BNCN

3. Core-Mark Holding
3. Core-Mark Holding

Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Distributors
Market Cap: $2 billion
12-Month Total Return: 37.2%

Core-Mark Holding Company, Inc. (CORE) , together with its subsidiaries, markets fresh and broad-line supply solutions to the convenience retail industry.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 7.8%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 12.3%
12-Month EPS Growth: 12.1%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate CORE MARK HOLDING CO INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • CORE MARK HOLDING CO INC has improved earnings per share by 10.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, CORE MARK HOLDING CO INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.83 versus $1.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.37 versus $1.83).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Distributors industry average. The net income increased by 10.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $13.70 million to $15.10 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 4572.00% to $116.80 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CORE MARK HOLDING CO INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 81.56%.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 32.23% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CORE

4. CenterState Banks
4. CenterState Banks

Industry: Financial Services/Regional Banks
Market Cap: $724 million
12-Month Total Return: 33.8%

CenterState Banks, Inc. (CSFL)  operates as the holding company for CenterState Bank of Florida, N.A., which provides various consumer and commercial banking services to individuals, businesses, and industries.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 30%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 384%
12-Month EPS Growth: 300%

TheStreet Said: 

Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate CENTERSTATE BANKS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 176.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.59 million to $9.92 million.
  • The gross profit margin for CENTERSTATE BANKS INC is currently very high, coming in at 96.30%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 20.55% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 152.97% to $20.02 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 152.97%, CENTERSTATE BANKS INC is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 302.97%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 175.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 30.54% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CSFL

5. Elbit Systems
5. Elbit Systems

Industry: Industrials/Aerospace & Defense
Market Cap: $3.8 billion
12-Month Total Return: 42.2%

Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT) develops and supplies a range of airborne, land, and naval systems and products for defense, homeland security, and commercial aviation applications worldwide.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 5.2%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 8%
12-Month EPS Growth: 7.5%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • ESLT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 41.46% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 46.84% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, ESLT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Aerospace & Defense industry. The net income increased by 42.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $34.96 million to $49.67 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 972.32% to $139.18 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 20.70%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ESLT

 

6. Greene County Bancorp
6. Greene County Bancorp

Industry: Financial Services/Thrifts & Mortgage Finance
Market Cap: $135 million
12-Month Total Return: 6.4%

Greene County Bancorp, Inc. (GCBC)  operates as a holding company for The Bank of Greene County that provides various financial services in New York.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 7.8%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 15.5%
12-Month EPS Growth: 15.5%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate GREENE COUNTY BANCORP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 15.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • GREENE COUNTY BANCORP INC has improved earnings per share by 21.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, GREENE COUNTY BANCORP INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.70 versus $1.54 in the prior year.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average. The net income increased by 21.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1.78 million to $2.15 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2.40 million or 10.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GREENE COUNTY BANCORP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -79.05%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GCBC

7. Home Bancorp
7. Home Bancorp

Industry: Financial Services/Thrifts & Mortgage Finance
Market Cap: $189 million
12-Month Total Return: 14.7%

Home Bancorp, Inc. (HBCP) operates as the holding company for Home Bank, National Association that provides various banking products and services in Louisiana.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 7.2%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 30%
12-Month EPS Growth: 28.3%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate HOME BANCORP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 15.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 82.64% to $20.44 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HOME BANCORP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -79.05%.
  • HOME BANCORP INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HOME BANCORP INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.42 versus $1.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.72 versus $1.42).
  • The gross profit margin for HOME BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 91.20%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, HBCP's net profit margin of 17.44% significantly trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HBCP

8. Hooker Furniture
8. Hooker Furniture

Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Home Furnishings
Market Cap: $279 million
12-Month Total Return: 56.7%

Hooker Furniture Corporation (HOFT)  operates as a home furnishings marketing, design, and logistics company primarily in North America. It designs, imports, manufactures, and markets residential household furniture products.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 6%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 59%
12-Month EPS Growth: 57.2%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate HOOKER FURNITURE CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HOFT has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.81, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 43.33% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 53.47% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, HOFT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • HOOKER FURNITURE CORP has improved earnings per share by 43.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HOOKER FURNITURE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.17 versus $0.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.55 versus $1.17).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 493.88% to $7.86 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HOOKER FURNITURE CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 123.38%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HOFT

9. Heidrick & Struggles International
9. Heidrick & Struggles International

Industry: Industrials/Human Resource & Employment Services
Market Cap: $522 million
12-Month Total Return: 25.2%

Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (HSII) provides executive search, culture shaping, and leadership consulting services on a retained basis to businesses and business leaders worldwide.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 3.1%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 120.7%
12-Month EPS Growth: 117%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES INTL as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • HSII's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HSII has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.30, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES INTL reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HEIDRICK & STRUGGLES INTL increased its bottom line by earning $0.37 versus $0.35 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.05 versus $0.37).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Professional Services industry. The net income increased by 150.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.99 million to $7.49 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HSII

 

10. Investors Title
10. Investors Title

Industry: Financial Services/Property & Casualty Insurance
Market Cap: $193 million
12-Month Total Return: 33.3%

Investors Title Company (ITIC) , through its subsidiaries, provides title insurance to residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial properties.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 5.6%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 48.7%
12-Month EPS Growth: 52%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate INVESTORS TITLE CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 15.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • ITIC has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 78.12% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 28.65% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 73.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.60 million to $4.49 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $7.57 million or 38.61% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, INVESTORS TITLE CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -13.65%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ITIC

11. Middlesex Water
11. Middlesex Water

Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Water Utilities
Market Cap: $448 million
12-Month Total Return: 23.3%

Middlesex Water Company (MSEX) , through its subsidiaries, provides regulated and unregulated water, and wastewater utility services. The company operates in two segments, Regulated and Non-Regulated.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 5.8%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 8%
12-Month EPS Growth: 6.4%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate MIDDLESEX WATER CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • MSEX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • MIDDLESEX WATER CO' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MIDDLESEX WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.14 versus $1.03 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.20 versus $1.14).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.77, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that MSEX's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.54, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $8.97 million or 3.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, MIDDLESEX WATER CO's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 7.27%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MSEX

12. TriCo Bancshares
12. TriCo Bancshares

Industry: Financial Services/Regional Banks
Market Cap: $643 million
12-Month Total Return: 15.6%

TriCo Bancshares (TCBK)  operates as a bank holding company for Tri Counties Bank, which provides commercial banking services to retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses in Northern and Central California.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 38%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 48%
12-Month EPS Growth: 5.1%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate TRICO BANCSHARES as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 40.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 54.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $8.23 million to $12.69 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 81.61% to $18.80 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 81.61%, TRICO BANCSHARES is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 302.97%.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • TRICO BANCSHARES has improved earnings per share by 10.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TRICO BANCSHARES reported lower earnings of $1.50 versus $1.69 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.89 versus $1.50).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TCBK

 

13. York Water
13. York Water

Industry: Utilities Non-Telecom/Water Utilities
Market Cap: $336 million
12-Month Total Return: 13.6%

The York Water Company (YORW)  impounds, purifies, and distributes drinking water. It owns and operates two wastewater collection and treatment systems; and has two reservoirs comprising Lake Williams and Lake Redman, which together hold up to approximately 2.2 billion gallons of water.

12-Month Revenue Growth: 4.2%
12-Month Net Income Growth: 18.5%
12-Month EPS Growth: 19.5%

TheStreet Said: Recently, TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author. TheStreet Ratings has this to say about the recommendation:

We rate YORK WATER CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • YORK WATER CO has improved earnings per share by 21.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, YORK WATER CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.89 versus $0.75 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.93 versus $0.89).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Water Utilities industry average. The net income increased by 14.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $3.07 million to $3.52 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.82, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.32, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for YORK WATER CO is currently very high, coming in at 81.26%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 28.46% is above that of the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: YORW

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