Lance, Teva: Top 5 Fast-Growth Stocks

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) -- The following companies are projected to increase revenue and profit by at least 12% in the coming year and receive "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.

Lance ( LNCE) makes snack foods, including Cape Cod Potato Chips and Archway Cookies.

The numbers: Second-quarter net income surged 252% to $9.5 million and earnings per share grew 233% to 30 cents, restrained by a higher share count. Revenue grew 11% to $237 million. Its gross margin jumped from 41% to 44% and its operating margin rose from 3% to 7%. A quick ratio of 1.1 indicates adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.4 demonstrates conservative leverage.

The stock: Lance has advanced 14% in 2009, beating the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 28, a premium to the market and packaged food peers. Shares pay a 2.4% dividend yield.

Teva Pharmaceuticals ( TEVA) is an Israeli pharmaceutical company.

The numbers: Second-quarter net income dropped 2% to $521 million and earnings per share fell 11% to 58 cents, hurt by a higher share count. Revenue ascended 20% to $3.4 billion. Its gross margin dropped from 58% to 54%, but its operating margin increased from 23% to 24%. A quick ratio of 0.9 indicates less-than-ideal liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.4 reflects conservative leverage.

The stock: Teva is up 18% this year, beating the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 52, a premium to the market and pharmaceutical peers. Shares pay a 1.2% 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. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.2 indicates modest leverage.

The stock: NCI is down 3% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 21, a premium to the market, but a discount to tech consulting peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

Emergency Medical Services ( EMS) provides urgent health-care services in the U.S.

The numbers: Second-quarter profit increased 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 demonstrates reasonable leverage.

The stock: Emergency Medical has increased 30% this year, outpacing the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, a premium to the market and health care service peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

Knight Capital ( NITE) is a capital markets firm specializing in OTC Bulletin Board securities.

The numbers: Second-quarter net income rose 21% to $36 million and earnings per share grew 41% to 52 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue surged 65% to $314 million. Its gross margin rose from 29% to 34%, but its operating margin fell from 31% to 26%. Knight has an adequate liquidity position, evident in its $392 million of cash. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 indicates reasonable leverage.

The stock: Knight has advanced 27% this year, beating the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 10, a discount to the market and financial peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

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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