National Presto Industries ( NPK) makes small appliances, and defense and absorbent products.

The numbers: First-quarter revenue increased 40% to $108 million as net income and earnings per share ascended 74% to $11 million and $1.58, respectively. The operating margin improved to 14% and the net margin remained steady at 10%. The company has no debt or interest expenses and abundant cash reserves, as reflected by a quick ratio of 3.6.

The stock: National Presto is up 2% in 2009, matching the Dow and underperforming the S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 11 and offers a meager 1.3% dividend yield.

Strayer Education ( STRA) is a for-profit post-secondary education company that offers a variety of academic programs through Strayer University.

The numbers: First-quarter revenue increased 28% to $125 million as net income jumped 24% to $29 million and earnings per share improved 26% to $2.07. The operating margin stood at 38% and the net margin remained strong at 23%. Zero debt and a quick ratio of 1.5 demonstrate fiscal prudence.

The stock: Strayer is flat in 2009, underperforming the Dow and S&P 500. The stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 35. A 1% dividend yield sweetens the stock, but is below the S&P 500 average.

J&J Snack Foods ( JJSF) manufactures and distributes snack foods and frozen beverages in the U.S.

The numbers: Fiscal second-quarter revenue increased 4% to $149 million as net income improved 81% to $7.2 million and earnings per share climbed 86% to 39 cents, helped by a lower share count. The operating margin widened from 4% to 8% and the net margin increased from 3% to 5%. The company has an ideal financial position, with zero debt and ample liquidity, which is evident in a quick ratio of 1.9.

The stock: J&J Snack Foods is up 7% in 2009, outperforming the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at an expensive price-to-earnings ratio of 22 and offers a lackluster dividend yield of 1%.

TSC Ratings was given an award this year for "Best Stock Selection" among independent research providers by BNY ConvergEx Group. A rating can be viewed for any stock through our screener. Ratings are derived from a variety of fundamental and pricing figures and represent our opinion of risk-adjusted performance. However, the rating doesn't incorporate all factors that can alter a stock's performance.

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