Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings compiles a list of the top five 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 . This list, updated daily, is based on data from the close of the previous trading session.

Today, small-cap stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies that have market capitalizations of between $50 million and $500 million that rank near the top of all stocks rated by our proprietary quantitative model, which looks at more than 60 factors.

In addition, the stocks must be followed by at least one financial analyst who posts estimates on the Institutional Brokers' Estimate System. The stocks are ordered by their potential to appreciate.


Today's list begins with Martin Midstream ( MMLP), which provides marine transportation, terminalling, distribution and midstream logistical services for producers and suppliers of hydrocarbon products and byproducts. It has been rated a buy since June 2005.

The company shows impressive revenue growth, significantly increased net operating cash flow and strong stock price performance. These positives outweigh concern about Martin Midstream's growth in net income.


EnergySouth ( ENSI) is a holding company concentrated on the purchase, distribution, storage and transportation of natural gas in southwest Alabama. EnergySouth has been rated a buy since March 2005. Its strengths include strong net operating cash flow, a reasonable debt-to-equity ratio beneath that of the industry average and remarkable stock price growth. Its stock is expensive relative to its peers, but given its performance, the higher price is justified.

Though EnergySouth shows a somewhat disappointing return on equity, its overall financial strengths outweigh its weaknesses, and the stock merits a buy rating.

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