TSC Ratings TheStreet.com Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.Each business day, we compile a list of the top five stocks in one of five categories -- fast-growth, all-around value, large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap -- 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 $50 million to $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 or 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. First Financial ( THFF), through its subsidiaries, provides various financial services in Indiana and Illinois. The company offers a range of deposit products, including demand deposits, savings deposits, time deposits and certificates of deposit. We have rated the stock a buy since April 5, 2007. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value. Net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the commercial banks industry. Net income increased by 12.4% compared with the same quarter one year prior, going from $6.4 million to $7.2 million. Also, gross profit margin is rather high; currently it is at 66.7%. It has increased from the same quarter in the previous year.