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.


A buy since May 2005, Waste Industries USA ( WWIN) tops this week's list. The company provides solid waste collection, transfer, disposal and recycling services to commercial, industrial and residential customers in six states in the Southeast.

It demonstrates improved operating margins due to pricing initiatives, higher productivity gains and increased internalization of waste into its landfills. The company also completed acquisitions in South Carolina and Georgia that will boost hauling revenues and strengthen its routes in desired markets.

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. For these reasons, any changes in the economic, legal and regulatory environment could hurt its future financial performance.

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