Every day, 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.

The top 10 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 on the basis of information available at the close of the previous trading session. Beginning with this week, we are publishing a daily article that takes a closer look at the ratings of the stocks on one of the lists.

Today we'll look at mid-cap stocks. These are stocks with a market capitalization of between $500 million and $10 billion that rate near the top of TheStreet.com Ratings' coverage universe. In addition, the stocks must be followed by at least one financial analyst who posts earnings estimates on IBES. The stocks are ranked in the order of their potential to appreciate.

Hub Group ( HUBG), a full-service transportation provider, offering intermodal, truck brokerage and logistics services throughout North America, has been rated buy since December 2004. The company's strengths include its notable return on equity, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings-per-share growth and compelling growth in net income. TheStreet.com Ratings believes these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.


Wolverine World Wide ( WWW), which designs, makes and sells various types of footwear, has been rated buy since January 2005. The company's strengths include a notable return on equity, revenue growth, a largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock-price performance and growth in earnings per share.

TheStreet.com Ratings believes these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow. Wolverine's third-quarter 2006 revenue growth slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.9%, while third-quarter revenue increased by 7.1% over the year-earlier period. This revenue growth appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share. Wolverine's return on equity also improved slightly on the year; this can be construed as a modest strength in the organization.


Fuller ( FUL), which manufactures and markets adhesives and specialty chemical products globally, has been rated buy since April 2005. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings-per-share growth over the past two years, and TheStreet.com Ratings believes this trend should continue. This earnings growth fueled a 57% surge in the stock price in 2006, outpacing the S&P 500. Though any stock can fall in a bear market, TheStreet.com Ratings believes the stock has more room to rise in almost any other market.


Metler-Toledo ( MTD) manufactures and markets weighing instruments for use in laboratory, industrial, packaging, logistics and food retailing applications. It has been rated a buy since December 2004. Our rating is driven by MTD's third-quarter performance and above-average return on equity. We also expect Metler-Toledo to benefit from its "Spinnaker" initiatives to improve sales, service and marketing operations.

MTD has consolidated its manufacturing facilities from 29 to 19, and has been shifting some of them to China to reduce costs; that should fetch higher margins in the future. The company also has strengthened its presence in the emerging Asian markets, where consumer spending levels are increasing.

The weighing and analytical instruments markets are fragmented both by region and by application, however. As a result, Metler-Toledo faces numerous regional and specialized competitors, which are well established in their market. The company is also exposed to foreign-exchange risk, as it generates nearly 62% of its revenue outside the U.S.


VF Corp. ( VFC) has been rated buy since October 2004. It is already the world's largest apparel company by revenue, and it has strong and diversified brands with solid market positions in several product categories. VF already has a large presence in Europe, and TheStreet.com Ratings expects it to benefit from its expansion plans in India and China. However, VF is highly dependent on a few customers for its revenue, and a significant reduction of orders from any of them could affect its business.


Harleysville Group ( HGIC) is a holding company for property and casualty insurers that operates primarily in the eastern and midwestern U.S. It has been rated buy since December 2004. The company's strengths include its notable return on equity, solid stock-price performance, an impressive record of earnings-per-share growth and revenue growth, and a largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. TheStreet.com Ratings believes these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.


Oneok ( OKE) purchases, gathers, processes, transports, stores and distributes natural gas. The company sells and markets natural gas liquids, and is engaged in the gas-marketing and trading business, primarily in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. We have rated the stock buy since February 2006, which is based on positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate.

Compared with its closing price of one year ago as of Jan. 3, Oneok's share price has jumped 61.55%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Despite the rise in share price, the company is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average.


Baldor Electric ( BEZ) designs, manufactures and sells electric motors and drives, among other products and repair parts. Its custom and stock products are sold directly to original equipment manufacturers, and its stock products are also sold to independent distributors for resale. We have rated Baldor buy since December 2004. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

The firm has exceeded the industry average cash flow-growth rate of 18.04%, and has improved earnings per share by 12.1% in the third quarter of 2006, compared with the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings-per-share growth, and we feel that this trend should continue.


Genlyte Group ( GLYT) designs, manufactures, markets and sells lighting fixtures and controls. Products include incandescent, fluorescent and high-intensity-discharge lighting fixtures and lighting controls. We have given the company a buy rating since December 2004. The company's recent acquisitions, together with new product launches and positive outlook worldwide, may allow it to repeat the strong financial performance it displayed in the third quarter of 2006.

On Sept. 25, Genlyte acquired the assets of Carsonite International, a subsidiary of Omega Polymer Technologies. The acquisition strengthens the company's position in commercial lighting and composite poles businesses in North America. We believe that Genlyte will benefit from continued strength in the U.S. nonresidential construction market and from the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which provides tax benefits for energy-efficient interior lighting systems.


Airgas ( ARG) distributes industrial, medical and specialty gases and welding, safety and related products. The company is the largest producer of nitrous oxide in the U.S. We have given Airgas a buy rating since December 2004, and feel the organization's strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

The year-to-year net income growth as of the second quarter of 2006 has significantly exceeded that of the chemicals industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 33.5% when compared with the same quarter one year prior, rising from $29.62 million to $39.55 million. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We believe that this trend should continue.