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.

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

Note that no provision is made for off-balance-sheet assets such as unrealized appreciation/depreciation of investments, market value of real estate or contingent liabilities that might affect book value. This could be material for some companies with large underfunded pension plans.


Today 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 revenue growth, significantly increased net income growth and strong stock price performance. These positives outweigh concerns about Martin Midstream's somewhat disappointing return on equity.


Rated a buy since February 2006, Multi-Color Corp. ( LABL) supplies decorative label solutions and packaging services to consumer product and food and beverage companies, retailers and container manufacturers. It displays significantly increased net operating cash flow and notable stock price appreciation with good potential for further growth. The market expects EPS growth in Multi-Color's fiscal 2007.

These strengths outweigh the company's subpar net income growth.


Waste Industries USA ( WWIN) provides solid waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to commercial, industrial and residential customer locations in six states in the Southeast. It demonstrates improved operating margins due to company-wide pricing initiatives, higher productivity gains and increased internalization of waste into its landfills. The company also completed recent acquisitions in South Carolina and Georgia that will boost hauling revenues and strengthen its routes in desired markets.

Since the solid waste industry is very competitive and requires considerable labor and capital resources, and is subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations, any changes in the economic, legal and regulatory environment could have an unfavorable impact on its future financial performance.


Rated a buy since December 2005, American Software ( AMSWA) develops, markets and offers support of software used in enterprise management and collaborative supply chain solutions. The company has displayed impressive stock price appreciation, a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past 12 months and no debt.

Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.


Cherokee ( CHKE) markets, licenses and manages brand names and related trademarks. It has been rated a buy since May 2005.

The company's strengths include notable stock price appreciation, net income growth that has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and its industry, and improved return on equity. While no company is perfect, it does not currently show any significant weaknesses likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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