Atlantic Tele-Network ( ATNI), which provides wireless and wireline telecommunications services in the Caribbean and North America, has been rated a buy since December 2004. TheStreet.com Ratings' positive outlook on the stock is primarily influenced by the company's acquisition-led growth strategy and its focus on under-served markets. Atlantic Tele-Network's financial performance in the third quarter of its fiscal year 2006 was also encouraging. The principal risks to our rating include termination of Atlantic Tele-Networks' exclusive right to provide wireline local and long-distance telephone services in Guyana, any decline in volume of international long-distance calls, any adverse regularity developments and increasing competition.
Precision Castparts Corp. ( PCP) manufactures metal components and products for aerospace and industrial gas turbine applications. It has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company is expected to benefit from its recent acquisitions and capacity expansion plans. This, together with higher defense spending worldwide, may allow it to repeat its recent strong financial performance. TheStreet.com Ratings believes increased defense spending, combined with the ongoing rebound in aviation, could increase the demand for Precision's products. However, because the company's top-line growth is dependent on the aerospace industry, any slowdown in the sector could lead to reduced demand for parts, components and supplies. Also, fluctuation in the prices of basic materials and the company's inability to successfully integrate acquisitions are a concern.
Designer and clothing manufacturer Polo Ralph Lauren ( RL) has been rated a buy since August 2004. The company displayed a strong financial performance for the first quarter of fiscal year 2007, and TheStreet.com Ratings expects it to benefit from growth initiatives and a positive industry trend. Global sales of luxury goods are expected to grow 6.0% annually through 2010, compared with 2.0% annual growth in the last five years, according to Bain & Co., a business consulting firm. Polo has a presence in 38 nations and has plans to expand further internationally. TheStreet.com Ratings sees a potential risk to the company if it fails to quickly adjust to changing fashion trends, which could hurt its brand identity and market share. Also, as Polo continues to initiate strategic growth and expansion plans, it is likely to incur higher costs related to store openings and acquisitions, which may pressurize margins in the near term.
J&J Snack Foods ( JJSF) has been rated a buy since December 2004. TheStreet.com Ratings' positive outlook on the stock is based on its notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, revenue growth and a solid financial position with reasonable debt levels. Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 25.4% for the year ending Sept. 30. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
Lincoln Electric ( LECO), which manufactures and resells welding and cutting products, has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years as of Jan. 3, which TheStreet.com Ratings expects to continue. Along with a favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.13, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems. 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 51.23% over the past year.
Financial and economic information provider Factset Research ( FDS) has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.01, which is currently below the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.98, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs. Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors in this company, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 37.99% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. The company has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.47%.
Gardner Denver ( GDI) has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company's strengths include notable return on equity, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. TheStreet.com Ratings believes these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Gardner Denver's revenue growth for the most recently reported quarter ended June 30 slightly outpaced the industry average of 12.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.62, 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 1.07, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.