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
First up is Albemarle ( ALB - Get Report), which develops, manufactures and markets specialty chemicals around the world. It has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company's strengths include notable return on equity, impressive increases in net income and a compelling record of EPS growth. These strengths outweigh the company's low profit margins. Albemarle's stock has shown a dramatic appreciation, making it relatively more expensive compared with its industry peers. However, its other strengths justify the higher price levels.
AllianceBernstein Holding ( AB - Get Report), which provides diversified investment management to a broad range of clients, has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company shows a number of positive financial measures, including a striking record of EPS growth, robust revenue growth, and a very high gross profit margin. These impressive financial strengths justify the relatively high price of the stock, because the company shows no other significant weaknesses.
Volvo ( VOLV sold its car business to Ford in 1999 but still makes trucks, buses, construction equipment and aircraft engine parts. It has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company has shown stellar revenue growth, solid stock price performance, outstanding EPS growth and compelling growth in net income. These strengths outweigh the company's low profit margins.
Oil and gas transportation company Oneok Partners ( OKS has maintained a buy rating since June 2006. The company has recently acquired valuable natural gas and processing assets, which reduce its dependence on regulated fee-based transportation revenue. Oneok shows impressive revenue growth and return on equity that is significantly higher than that of the industry and the S&P 500 averages. The company also has enjoyed impressive net income growth. Risks to the buy rating include any unexpected rise in interest rates, which could drag down profits since the company has taken on more debt to fund its aggressive expansion strategy. Oneok is also vulnerable to the risk of compressed gathering and processing margin, which is related to volatile natural gas prices.
Garmin ( GRMN - Get Report) makes navigation, communications and information devices based on GPS technology. It has been rated a buy since March 2005. The company has shown stellar revenue growth, notable return on equity, a two-year pattern of steady EPS growth and has a minuscule debt-to-equity ratio. Though no company is perfect, we do not currently see any weaknesses that are likely to detract from the generally rosy outlook.
Cummins ( CMI - Get Report), rated a buy since March 2005, designs, manufactures, distributes and repairs diesel and natural gas engines and electric power generation systems. The company shows steady revenue growth, a low debt-to-equity ratio and improving net income growth. It recently announced plans to enter the light-duty diesel market in the U.S. and China, and launched a joint venture to make engines with the Beijing-based Beiqi Foton Motor Company. Since Cummins operates in various competitive geographical markets, the buy rating is dependent on the economic conditions of the automotive, construction and general industrial sectors. Growth prospects would likewise be dimmed by any decline in margins or return on equity.
Russian dairy products and beverages manufacturer Wimm Bill Dann ( WBD has earned a buy rating since December 2005. The company has recently completed strategic acquisitions of several companies with strong brand portfolios and leading market positions in their respective regions. It has also shown impressive revenue growth, net income increases and an attractive return on equity. The buy rating is not without risk. Prices for Wimm Bill Dann's major inputs -- such as raw milk, juice concentrate, sugar and packaging materials -- are facing major inflation. Should the trend continue, the company's future profits might be hurt.
Real estate and money management service company Jones Lang LaSalle ( JLL has had a buy rating since March 2005. The company has impressive strengths, including a noteworthy return on equity (a sign of internal strength), impressive net operating cash flow and a significant appreciation of its share price, which should continue to move higher. With positive investment measures across the board, the company's low profit margins are not a major concern.
Rated a buy since March 2005, BG Group ( BRG produces, transmits and supplies natural gas to more than 20 countries worldwide. The company has completed several key acquisitions and agreements of late, continuing to focus on capacity expansion. With crude oil prices well above historical averages, exploration and production companies are increasing their efforts, and the tight supply-demand situation is likely to keep oil at high price levels, a boon for BG. The company shows robust revenue growth, impressive net income increases, and strong EPS growth. BG is not without risk. Having made significant investments in oil and gas exploration at a time when oil prices were at record levels, any significant downturn could hurt the company's future profitability.
Life and health insurer Lincoln National ( LNC has warranted a buy rating since March 2005. It enjoyed a strong financial performance in 2006, and its aggressive stock buyback plan (boosting return on equity) and attractive dividend yield at current price levels make the stock more attractive going forward. Risks include any sharp fluctuations in equity markets, a decline in investment spreads or an adverse regulatory development.