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BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- The following companies have market values of $50 million to $500 million and receive "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.

Hawkins ( HWKN) makes specialty chemicals.

The numbers: Fiscal first-quarter profit increased 24% to $6.1 million, or 58 cents a share, as revenue grew 18% to $74 million. Its gross margin remained steady at 24% and its operating margin advanced from 12% to 13%. Hawkins has an ideal financial position, with no debt and ample cash reserves, evident in its quick ratio of 2.8. We give the company a financial strength score of 8.9 out of 10, higher than the "buy"-list average.

The stock: Hawkins has increased 46% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 9, a discount to chemical peers and the market. The shares offer a 2.5% dividend yield.

American Physicians Service Group ( AMPH) provides medical liability insurance and investment management services.

The numbers: Second-quarter net income decreased 20% to $4.9 million, or 70 cents a share, as revenue declined 13% to $20 million. Its gross margin fell from 58% to 44% and its operating margin dropped from 51% to 38%. The company has an ideal financial position, with $46 million of cash, compared to $6.5 million of debt. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.1 indicates modest leverage.

The stock: American Physicians Service Group is up 8% this year, beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but underperforming the S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 9, a discount to insurance peers and the market. The company doesn't pay dividends.

The First of Long Island ( FLIC) is a commercial bank operating in New York.

The numbers: Second-quarter profit increased 3% to $3.4 million, or 47 cents a share, as revenue grew 13% to $18 million. Its gross margin was little changed at 73% and its operating margin declined from 35% to 34%. The company is adequately capitalized, evident in its risk-based capital ratio of 17%. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.5 indicates higher-than-ideal leverage.

The stock: The First of Long Island has increased 10% this year, more than the Dow, but less than the S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, a discount to regional banking peers and the market. The shares offer a 2.8% dividend yield.

NCI ( NCIT) provides technology consulting to government agencies.

The numbers: Second-quarter profit rose 26% to $5.1 million, or 37 cents a share, as revenue advanced 13% to $109 million. Its gross margin declined from 14% to 13% and its operating margin rose from 8% to 9%. A quick ratio of 1.6 demonstrates ample liquidity and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2 indicates modest leverage.

The stock: NCI is down 5% this year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, indicating parity with the market, but a discount to tech-consulting peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

Village Super Market ( VLGEA) owns a ShopRite supermarket chain and is a member of the Wakefern Food Corp.

The numbers: Fiscal third-quarter profit increased 25% to $6.3 million, or 47 cents a share, as revenue increased 7% to $293 million. Its gross margin declined from 28% to 27%, but its operating margin rose from 3% to 4%. Same-store sales, an important gauge of retail improvement, jumped 7%. The company has a modest $36 million debt load and $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 2% this year, lagging behind major U.S indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17, a discount to food retail peers and the market. The shares pay a 2.9% dividend yield.

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.

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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