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 annual revenue above $500 million, below-average valuations, debt that's less than 49% of total capital and "buy" ratings from our 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. Village Super Market ( VLGEA) operates the ShopRite supermarket chain. 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. Sales at stores open at least a year, a key retail gauge, jumped 7%. Its gross margin decreased from 28% to 27%, but its operating margin rose from 3% to 4%. The company has a modest $36 million debt load and more than $47 million of cash, translating to a quick ratio of 0.8 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2. The stock: Village Super Market is up 2% this year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17, a discount to food retailers and the market. The shares offer a 3% dividend yield. 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, or 88 cents a share. Revenue jumped 5% to $623 million. Its gross margin rose from 44% to 49% and its operating margin expanded from 14% to 18%. 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 1% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 19, a premium to household-product makers, but a discount to the market. The shares offer a 1% dividend yield.
MGE Energy ( MGEE) is a Wisconsin-based electric company. 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. Its gross margin rose from 23% to 25% and its operating margin climbed from 15% to 16%. A quick ratio of 0.3 and $12 million of cash demonstrate weak liquidity. But a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 is lower than the industry average, indicating restrained leverage. The stock: MGE has advanced 7% this year, in line with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but trailing the S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15, a discount to utility peers and the market. The shares offer a 4% dividend yield, higher than the S&P 500 average. Ball Corp. ( BLL) makes metal and plastic packaging. The numbers: Second-quarter net income increased 33% to $133 million, or $1.40 a share. Revenue declined 7% to $1.9 billion. Its gross margin rose from 16% to 17% and its operating margin climbed from 9% to 10%. A quick ratio of 0.5 demonstrates weak liquidity and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.8 indicates excessive leverage. The stock: Ball is up 16% this year, beating the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 14, a discount to container peers and the market. The shares offer a dividend yield less than 1%. Emergency Medical Services ( EMS) provides ambulance services. The numbers: Second-quarter net income surged 58% to $29 million, or 67 cents a share, as revenue grew 12% to $637 million. Its gross margin rose from 12% to 14% and its operating margin jumped from 6% to 9%. The company has strong liquidity, reflected by its current ratio of 2.8. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 indicates reasonable leverage.
The stock: Emergency Medical has increased 28% this year, outpacing the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, which is equal to the market, but a premium to health care service peers. The company doesn't pay dividends. -- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston. Follow TheStreet.com on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.