TheStreet.com Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund recommendations using proprietary tools. Our "safety first" approach aims to reduce risk while achieving total return performance. BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- These companies have more than $500 million in annual revenue, below-average valuations and debt that's less than 49% of total capital. They have also earned "buy" ratings from our proprietary quantitative model, which considers more than 60 factors. They're ordered by their potential to appreciate, starting with the company with the best growth prospects. Church & Dwight ( CHD) sells household products, including Arm & Hammer baking soda and Brillo pads. The numbers: Second-quarter net income increased 27% to $58 million and earnings per share climbed 23% to 88 cents, restrained by a higher share count. Revenue jumped 5% to $623 million. The operating margin widened from 14% to 16% and the net margin topped 9%. A quick ratio of 1.2 demonstrates ample liquidity and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 indicates conservative leverage. The stock: Church & Dwight is up 4% this year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at an expensive price-to-earnings ratio of 20 and offers a dividend yield less than 1%. The company's record of consistent earnings growth regardless of economic conditions makes it an attractive stock. Village Super Market ( VLGEA) operates a chain of ShopRite supermarkets. The numbers: Fiscal third-quarter net income increased 25% to $6.3 million, or 47 cents a share, as revenue increased 7% to $293 million. Same store sales, an important gauge of improvement, jumped more than 7%. The company has a modest $36 million debt load and over $47 million of cash, which works out to a quick ratio of 0.8 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2.
The stock: Village Super Market has climbed 5% this year, underperforming major U.S indices. The stock trades at a fair price-to-earnings ratio of 17 and offers a 2.8% dividend yield. MGE Energy ( MGEE) is a Wisconsin-based electric utility. The numbers: Second-quarter net income dropped 6% to $10 million and earnings per share fell 10% to 43 cents, hurt by a higher share count. Revenue decreased 14% to $108 million. The operating margin rose from 15% to 16% and the net margin increased from 8% to 9%. A quick ratio of 0.3 and just $12 million of cash demonstrate weak liquidity. But a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 indicates reasonable leverage and is lower than the industry average. The stock: MGE has advanced 12% this year, beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but underperforming the S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a fair price-to-earnings ratio of 16 and offers a 4% dividend yield, higher than the average of S&P 500 companies. Ball Corp. ( BLL) makes metal and plastic packaging. The numbers: Second-quarter revenue declined 7% to $1.9 billion, but net income increased 33% to $133 million, or $1.40. The operating margin grew from 9% to 10% and the net margin climbed from 5% to 7%. A quick ratio of 0.5 demonstrates weak liquidity and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.8 indicates excessive leverage. We give Ball a financial strength score of 6 out of 10 because of its revenue and earnings stability. The stock: Ball is up 20% this year, beating the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at an attractive price-to-earnings ratio of 14, but offers a dividend yield less than 1%.
Sykes Enterprises ( SYKE) provides customer contact services. The numbers: Second-quarter earnings dropped 19% to $14 million, or 35 cents, as revenue increased marginally to $209 million. The operating margin rose from 8% to 9%, but the net margin declined from 9% to 7%. Sykes has an outstanding financial position with zero debt and ample cash reserves. We give the company a financial strength score of 8 out of 10. The stock: Sykes has advanced 11% this year, more than the Dow, but less than the S&P 500. The stock trades at an attractive price-to-earnings ratio of 15, but doesn't pay dividends. -- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.