TheStreet.com Ratings assembled a portfolio of two stocks, two ETFs, and two mutual funds that we think will outperform the market over the balance of this year. All six of our recommendations are highly rated by our proprietary models, and offer attractive growth to investors based on a number of other nonquantitative factors. Moreover, we believe each of these investments offers some downside protection, should the market suffer from a downdraft over the balance of the year. That said, we suggest investors use our recommendations as initial points of reference for their own due diligence.

Our first stock pick is F5 Networks ( FFIV), a leading provider of software and hardware devices that distribute and monitor data traffic across servers and provide a number of other security and application optimization functions. The stock, which is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 25.7 times fiscal 2008 consensus EPS estimates, is hardly a value play. Still, it is well off its 52-week high of almost $46 (on a split-adjusted basis). The retreat is mostly due to concerns that its recent acquisition of Acopia Networks will dilute earnings and could be difficult to integrate.

Despite these risks, we see several reasons to like the stock. First off, our model rates FFIV a buy based on consistently strong revenue and cash flow growth, strong balance sheet measures and attractive returns on invested capital. Of those, FFIV's balance sheet strength is particularly noteworthy: It has approximately $420 million in cash and equivalents, or almost $5.00 per share, post acquisition.

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