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 on the Ratings section of our Web site.

The rankings are based on our ratings, which assess risk-adjusted returns, as well as other criteria specific to the type of stock.

We update the lists at the end of the business day based on information available at the close of the previous trading session. The following day, we publish an article that takes a closer look at the ratings of the stocks on one of the lists.

Today we look at large-cap stocks. These are companies with maket capitalizations of over $10 billlion that rank in the top 50% 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 IBES. They are ordered by their potential to appreciate.

First on the list is Precision Castparts ( PCP), which manufactures complex metal components and products for aerospace and industrial gas turbine applications and has been rated a buy since December 2004. TheStreet.com Ratings expects the company to benefit from its recent acquisitions and capacity expansion plans. This, together with higher defense spending worldwide, may allow it to repeat the strong financial performance it displayed in the second quarter of its fiscal year 2007.

Risks to the buy rating include a potential slowdown in the aerospace industry, which could result in reduced demand for parts, components, supplies and services in Precision's end markets. Fluctuations in the prices of basic materials and any difficulty integrating the recent acquisitions would also be of concern.

McGraw-Hill ( MHP) provides information services primarily to the financial services, education and business information markets; its major brands include McGraw-Hill, BusinessWeek, Standard & Poor's, Platts and J.D. Power and Associates. The company has been rated a buy since August 2004. Strong performance in its financial segments has offset weakness in education services.

Risks to the buy rating include the fact that the outlook for U.S. commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and public finance is currently bleak.


Raytheon ( RTN) has been rated a buy since October 2004. The company's strengths include steady growth in revenue, led by higher sales of defense electronics and business jets, and solid net income growth. Moreover, Raytheon, the fifth-largest Pentagon contractor, should benefit from higher proposed defense spending as President Bush's 2007 budget continues to favor spending on defense and homeland security.

Negative variables include a global economic slowdown, terrorist attacks and increased fuel costs.


Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) has been rated a buy since November 2004. This computer manufacturer's positives include robust top-line growth due to strong demand for its products, focused cost-cutting initiatives and improving profitability. Its strategy of acquiring businesses that complement its core operations is also commendable.

However, TheStreet.com Ratings' optimism is tempered by the intense competition in the desktop, laptop and printer markets from Dell ( DELL) and Lexmark ( LXK). This pressures H-P to cut costs.

Loews ( LTR) has been rated a buy since November 2004. The company has diversified holdings, which include property casualty insurers CNA Financial ( CNA), cigarette maker Carolina Group ( CG), an offshore oil and gas driller, hotels and the Bulova watch company. We believe this wide-ranging business portfolio helps generate stable revenue growth and spreads the company's risks. Loews' strong balance sheet is another positive. This liquidity helps it meet future insurance liabilities and fund capital expenditures.

However, the buy rating on the stock is subject to litigation risks in the company's cigarette business, the impact of any decline in energy prices on its drilling business and the impact of any substantial catastrophic losses in its insurance operations.


Lincoln National ( LNC) is the holding company for a number of insurance and investment businesses in the U.S. and U.K. It has been rated a buy since September 2004. TheStreet.com Ratings expects the company to benefit from its April 2006 acquisition of Jefferson-Pilot, whose customer base, distribution platform and product portfolio appear to be complimentary.

Risks to the buy rating include any roadblocks in the integration with Jefferson-Pilot, any undue decline in equity market leading to a fall in account value and any adverse regulatory development.


Sempra Energy ( SRE) provides natural gas service throughout Southern California and portions of central California. It has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company's strengths include its notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and compelling growth in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, TheStreet.com Ratings feels they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

Investment firm Franklin Resources ( BEN) has had a buy rating since July 2005. The company has had a consistent track record of its funds, increasing its presence in international markets, especially in emerging markets. Franklin also is consistently showing improvement in its profitability. However, any adverse change in beneficial tax treatment from foreign earnings can hurt its results.


Nordstrom ( JWN) operates approximately 187 stores, including Full-Line Nordstrom stores, which sell a broad selection of apparel, shoes and accessories, Nordstrom Racks, Faconnable boutiques, a single free-standing shoe store and two clearance stores. The company has been rated a buy since December 2004. The company's strengths include its notable return on equity, revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and expanding profit margins.


Johnson Controls ( JCI) provides installed building control systems and technical and facility management services, designs and manufactures products and systems for passenger cars and light trucks and provides advanced battery technology. It has been rated a buy since October 2004. The buy rating is supported by the company's recent acquisitions, as well as restructuring at Ford , a major customer; both are likely to improve the top and bottom line at Johnson Controls going forward.

Risks to the buy rating include Johnson Controls' dependence on automobile manufacturers, whose production volumes in turn are dependent on general economic conditions and the level of consumer spending. Any significant economic decline that results in a reduction in automotive production and sales would almost certainly have a material adverse effect on company's business. Any further significant loss of market share by the U.S. industry to foreign automakers could also negatively impact Johson Controls.