4. UFP Technologies

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Share of UFP Technologies ( UFPT) closed at $17.31 Tuesday, returning 42% year-to-date.

TheStreet Ratings on Tuesday upgraded the shares to an A-minus from a B.

The company designs and manufactures molded and fabricated foam packages, vacuum-formed plastics and molded fiber, as well as other products, marketing to customers in multiple sectors, including medical, scientific, automotive, aerospace, defense and consumer customers.

Net income in 2010 was $9.2 million, or $1.37 a share, increasing from $5.9 million, or 94 cents a share, in 2009. Net sales increased 22% during 2010, to $120.8 million.

John Curti of Sinclair Research rates UFP Technologies a buy, with a 12-month price target of $22.50, and estimates the company will earn $1.55 a share in 2011 and $1.72 a share n 2012. The analyst said in an April 1 report that the company's "fundamentals remain solid and its operating model remains leveraged to an economic recovery," adding that "With an industry ripe for consolidation UFPT has numerous acquisition opportunities and the financial resources ($24.4 million in cash, a $15 million credit line, and $10 million/year of free cash flow) to complete them."

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