Each business day, 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 is based on data from the close of the previous trading session. Today, fast-growth stocks are in the spotlight. These are stocks of companies that are projected to increase revenue and profit by at least 12% in the coming year and rank near the top 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. Please note that definitions of revenue vary by industry, and this screen does not make adjustments for acquisitions, which can materially affect posted results. Likewise, earnings-per-share growth may be affected by accounting charges, share repurchases and other one-time items. 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. Diamond Offshore ( DO - Get Report) engages in the contract drilling of oil and gas wells. The company's fleet of 30 submersibles enables it to offer a range of services in markets worldwide, including the deep water, harsh environment, and conventional semisubmersible markets. Diamond also owns 13 jack-up rigs, which are mobile, self-elevating drilling platforms equipped with legs that are lowered to the ocean floor until a foundation can be built to support the platform. Finally, Diamond also has one drillship, the Ocean Clipper, located offshore Brazil.
We have rated Diamond a buy since June 2005. Boosted by solid sales growth from its Contract Drilling business segment, Diamond's revenue surged 29% year over year to $666.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Earnings rose 30%, fueled by a rise in daily rates for the company's deepwater rigs. Net income for the quarter increased to $290.6 million, or $2.09 a share, from $224.2 million, or $1.64 a share, in the year-ago quarter. In keeping with its policy of considering the payment of special cash dividends on a quarterly basis, the Board of Directors recently declared a special cash dividend of $1.25 per share of common stock in addition to a regular cash dividend of $0.125 per share of common stock. Both dividends are payable in June 2008. Finally, Diamond's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.17, implying successful management of debt levels. While lower than a year ago, Diamond's gross profit margin remains high at 62%. However, the company's net profit margin of 37% significantly outperforms the industry. Furthermore, Diamond has demonstrated a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, and we feel that this trend could continue. We feel that the slowdown in the U.S. economy and weak job data pose larger risks as they may put pressure on the demand for oil and gas. This could in turn disturb activities related to exploration and production, affecting the number of rigs that are operational in the market. Balchem ( BCPC - Get Report) develops, manufactures and markets specialty performance ingredients and products for the food, feed and mechanical sterilization industries. Balchem produces choline products for both human and animal consumption. Choline, a vitamin-B complex, plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat and the building and maintaining of cell structures. Choline deficiency can result in reduced growth and perosis (a disease characterized by a deformity of the leg joint) in poultry and fatty liver, kidney necrosis, and general poor health in swine, among other symptoms. In humans, choline is recognized as playing a key role in the structural integrity of cell membranes, the processing of dietary fat, reproductive development and neural functions such as memory and muscle function. Balchem also produces encapsulated performance ingredients for use throughout the food and animal-health industries in end products such as baked goods, refrigerated and frozen dough, processed meats, seasoning blends and confections. These performance ingredients are used to enhance nutritional fortification and improve shelf life of prepared products.
Our buy rating for Balchem has not changed since June 2003. The company reported record quarterly results in sales and earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Balchem achieved revenue of $56.9 million, reflecting a 35% increase compared with the year-ago quarter. Net earnings increased 35% year over year to $4.6 million. As a result, EPS increased 32% to 25 cents a share. Management reported that the integration of several acquisitions made during fiscal 2007 have gone well, and stated that the first-quarter results did not yet reflect the company's full expectations for those acquisitions. Additionally, management noted again that rising raw material costs are expected to remain a challenge for Balchem in the near term. While the company has taken pricing steps to counteract the effects of these increased input costs, the actions taken in the first quarter did not offset all the cost increases, primarily due to timing. Overall, management expects the remainder of fiscal 2008 to continue to bring double digit increases in sales and earnings. Bear in mind, however, that global economic issues could affect the company's results. DeVry ( DV) is an international higher education company. DeVry University offers career-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs in technology, business, and management. Classes are offered at a number of locations, as well as through DeVry University Online. The company has been rated a buy since January 2007. DeVry's strength's can be seen in its impressive record of EPS growth, compelling improvement in net income and revenue and a largely solid financial position. For the third quarter of fiscal 2008, DeVry reported EPS of 53 cents, vs. 32 cents a year ago. This increase continues the company's demonstrated pattern of EPS growth over the past two years, and we believe that trend will continue. The company's third-quarter net income of $38.3 million represents an increase of 67% from the same quarter last year. DeVry also has no debt to speak of, and its revenue rose by 18% in the second quarter.
Management said that it was pleased with the results for the first nine months of fiscal 2008, including the spring term's solid enrollment numbers resulting from market demand and improvements in the recruiting process. Looking ahead, the company plans to continue investments in marketing, recruiting, information technology and human resources in the fourth quarter. While these actions are expected to increase costs in the near term, management is confident that the investments will help DeVry improve its long-term momentum. In addition, this stock has surged 65% over the past year, benefitting from various driving factors such as its strong earnings growth of 66%. While any stock can fall in a major bear market, we feel that DeVry's stock should continue to move higher relative to its industry. Flowserve ( FLS - Get Report) develops, manufactures and sells precision-engineered flow equipments through 3 divisions: Flowserve Pump, Flow Control and Flow Solutions. The company operates worldwide in more than 56 countries, with 43% of revenue coming from North America. We have rated Flowserve a buy since January 2007 based on increasing revenue and net income. Flowserve's revenue rose 24% year over year for the first quarter, largely due to strong sales in the oil and gas markets. The company also reported that fully diluted earnings per share rose to $1.53 from 59 cents a year ago. Furthermore, net income increased more than doubled $88.1 million. Additionally, bookings were up 31% for the quarter. Management raised its fiscal 2008 EPS forecast to a target range of $5.90 to $6.20 from its previous estimate of $5.10 to $5.40. The company is encouraged by its first quarter results and its continued strength in key markets, and remains confident in its ability to successfully carry out its operational excellence initiatives to improve performance. Bear in mind, however, that the recent surge in commodity costs is a challenge to the machinery industry as a whole and could affect Flowserve's future results.
Cummins ( CMI - Get Report) designs, manufactures, distributes and services diesel and natural gas engines, electric power generation systems, and engine-related products. These products include filtration emissions solutions, fuel systems, controls and air-handling systems. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ind., and serves customers in more than 160 countries through a network of 550 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 5,000 dealer locations. Cummins has been rated a buy since March 2004. Despite a somewhat disappointing return on equity of 22% for the most recent quarter, we are impressed by the company's revenue growth, stock price performance, and improved earnings per share. For the first quarter of fiscal 2008, Cummins' revenues rose 23% year over year. This appears to have helped boost EPS, which improved 37% to 97 cents. Net income rose 33% to $190 million. Cummins also reported strong performances across all business segments, particularly from international markets, which accounted for 57% of first-quarter sales and helped offset rising commodity prices and sluggishness in some U.S. consumer-related markets. Management feels that Cummins' strong first quarter results offer proof that the company's diversification and growth strategies are working to help counteract the current economic uncertainty in the United States. Management affirmed their previous fiscal 2008 forecasts of at least 12% revenue growth over fiscal 2007. Additionally, the company restated its plans to invest between $550 and $600 million in capital expenditures globally. However, the company's future results could be negatively impacted by rising commodity costs and general economic conditions.
Our quantitative rating is based on a variety of historical fundamental and pricing data and represents our opinion of a stock's risk-adjusted performance relative to other stocks. However, the rating does not incorporate all of the factors that can alter a stock's performance. For example, it doesn't always factor in recent corporate or industry events that could affect the stock price, nor does it include recent technology developments and competitive dynamics that may affect the company. For those reasons, we believe that a rating alone cannot tell the whole story and that it should be part of an investor's overall research.