BOSTON ( TheStreet) - The Dow Jones Industrial Average outpaced the S&P 500 Index and Nasdaq in October as investors scooped up steady-performing stocks. Here are five strong names to consider.

5. Express Scripts ( ESRX) is a pharmacy benefit manager.

The numbers: Third-quarter net income declined 2% to $198 million and earnings per share fell 12% to 71 cents, hurt by a higher share count. Revenue grew 3% to $5.6 billion. The company's gross margin increased from 10% to 11%, and its operating margin inched from 6% to 7%. Express Scripts has $5.2 billion of cash and $4 billion of debt.

The stock: Express Scripts has advanced 55% this year, more than major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 27, a premium to the market and health care service peers. Express Scripts doesn't pay dividends.

4. Medco Health Solutions ( MHS) is a pharmacy benefit manager.

The numbers: Third-quarter net income increased 13% to $336 million and earnings per share climbed 19% to 69 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue grew 18% to $15 billion. Medco's gross margin remained steady at 7%, and its operating margin was unchanged at 4%. A quick ratio of 1 reflects adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 indicates reasonable leverage.

The stock: Medco has advanced 47% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 25, a premium to the market and health care service peers. Medco doesn't pay dividends.

3. Colgate-Palmolive ( CL) sells personal products, including toothpaste and soap.

The numbers: Third-quarter net income rose 18% to $591 million, or $1.12 a share, as revenue was unchanged at $4 billion. Colgate-Palmolive's gross margin expanded from 59% to 61%, and its operating margin increased from 21% to 24%. A quick ratio of 0.7 indicates less-than-ideal liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.1 reflects higher-than-ideal leverage.

The stock: Colgate-Palmolive has advanced 21% this year, more than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, but less than the S&P 500 Index. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, a discount to the market, but a premium to household-product makers. The shares offer a 2.1% dividend yield.

2. DirecTV ( DTV) provides satellite television.

The numbers: Third-quarter net income increased marginally to $366 million and earnings per share climbed 12% to 37 cents, boosted by a lower share count. Revenue grew 10% to $5.5 billion. DirecTV's gross margin declined from 50% to 49%, but its operating margin remained steady at 13%. A quick ratio of 1.1 demonstrates adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.7 reflects excessive leverage.

The stock: DirecTV has rallied 34% this year, more than the Dow and S&P 500. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 24, a premium to the market and cable and satellite peers. DirecTV doesn't pay dividends.

1. McDonald's ( MCD) sells hamburgers, soft drinks and French fries through restaurant franchises.

The numbers: Third-quarter net income increased 6% to $1.3 billion, or $1.15 a share, as revenue declined 4% to $6 billion. The company's gross margin rose from 43% to 45%, and its operating margin increased from 28% to 31%. A quick ratio of 0.9 reflects less-than-ideal liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.8 indicates reasonable leverage.

The stock: McDonald's has climbed 3% this year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17, a discount to the market and restaurants. The shares pay a 3.4% dividend yield.

Now see five bargain stocks on the rise >>>

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