6 Mid-Cap Growth Stocks to Watch

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Analysts' consensus estimate polled by Bloomberg, projects potential upside of 21% to 56% for these stocks. Based on positive company developments and favorable earnings, analysts have assigned significant buy and hold ratings for these stocks.


6. Plains Exploration & Production ( PXP), an independent oil and gas company, engages in the upstream oil and gas business. The company operates in the U.S. and owns oil and gas properties onshore and offshore California, the Gulf Coast, the mid-continent region and the Rocky Mountains.

Of the 17 analysts covering the stock, 71% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 21% to $44.14 in the next 12 months.

For its first quarter of 2011, the company recorded ROE of 3.1% and $6.5 in cash flow per share. Net income for the quarter came in at $70.98 million or 49 cents per share, compared to $58.53 million or 41 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenue increased to $430.31 million vs. $384.05 million in first quarter of 2010.

Up ahead, the company expects full year 2011 cash margin of more than 25% compared to the first quarter of 2010 and a 30% increase from the full year 2010 average. These estimates are based on the current crude oil price outlook and improved crude oil differentials. The company's CEO adds that full year operational growth objectives are on track with average daily sales ranging between 95,000 and 100,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

5. Babcock & Wilcox ( BWC), a provider of energy products and services, operates in two business segments: power generation systems and government operations. The company also has operations at McDermott International where it represents the combined assets and liabilities of its two segments.

Of the 14 analysts covering the stock, 50% recommend a buy and the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 30.3% to $36.50 in the upcoming 12 months.

For its first quarter of 2011, the company recorded $1.7 in cash flow per share. Besides, revenue escalated 4.4% to $691.3 million from the year-ago quarter. As of March 31, 2011, total backlog increased to $4.9 million from $4.7 million in the earlier year period. Additionally, BWC unveiled record bookings of aftermarket parts for its power generation systems.

The company recently said that the joint venture between subsidiary Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group and India-based Thermax broke ground on its 699,000-square-foot, $160 million boiler manufacturing plant in India. The facility has been designed to produce parts for up to 3,000 megawatts (MW) of utility boiler capacity per year, with construction scheduled for completion in late 2012.

4. Sotheby's ( BID) is an auctioneer of authenticated fine and decorative art, jewelry and collectibles. The company's operations are divided into three segments: auction, finance and dealer.

Of the six analysts covering the stock, 83% recommend a buy and the rest rate it a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg foresee the stock gaining an average 34.6% to $57.06 in the upcoming 12 months.

For its first quarter of 2011, the company's ROE was 23.9% and $5.2 in cash flow per share. Besides, net profit came in at $2.4 million as against a net loss of $2.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 17% to $119.6 million with auction commissions increasing 23%. With the number of works sold for more than 1 million increasing 63%, the company said it posted the best ever first quarter earnings.

The company recently went ex-dividend, based on which shareholders would be eligible for $0.05 dividend per share. Meanwhile, early May, the company declared a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share for its second quarter of 2011, payable June 15, 2011. Sotheby recently said that its auctions for watches in Hong Kong would increase by a quarter in 2011. So far, in 2011, the company sold wristwatches and timepieces worth $9.6 million with the expectation of continuing the same pace through the year.

3. McDermott International ( MDR), an engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) company, is focused on designing and executing complex offshore oil and gas projects worldwide. The company operates in five primary business segments: Asia Pacific, Atlantic, Caspian, the Middle East, and Corporate.

Of the 21 analysts covering the stock, 95% recommend a buy, whereas the remaining rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 38.2% to $29.82 over the next 12 months.

For its first quarter of 2011, the company recorded ROE of 12.4% and $1.7 in cash flow per share. Additionally, total revenue increased 78% to $899.2 million. Net income for the quarter was $70.4 million or 30 cents per share from $59.9 million or 26 cents per share in comparable quarter of the prior year. By March 31, 2011, backlog stood at $4.8 billion compared to $4.1 billion by the end of March 2010.

Recently, Chevron awarded MDR's subsidiary a fabrication and installation contract to support the development of the Jack and St. Malo fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The fabrication work, which will be included in the company's first quarter 2011 bookings, will begin in 2013. Besides, early May, Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex awarded offshore oil and gas pipeline projects to McDermott's units, with a completion date of early 2012.

2. Oshkosh ( OSK), a designer, manufacturer and marketer of a range of vehicles and vehicle bodies, partners customers to deliver solutions that move people and materials at work, globally and round-the-clock. The company operates in four segments: defense, access equipment, fire & emergency and commercial.

Of the 16 analysts covering the stock, 44% recommend a buy and the remaining suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 46.8% to $40.80 in the upcoming 12 months.

For its second quarter of 2011, the company recorded ROE of 85.8% and $6.9 in cash flow per share. Access equipment and commercial segment sales increased 72.7% and 3.9% from the year-ago period, respectively. Meanwhile, as of March 31, 2011, cash and cash equivalents stood at $416.7 million as compared to $339 million at the end of Sep. 2010. Backlog across the segments totaled $6.2 million, up 21.2% from the year-ago period, as of March 31, 2011.

The company recently secured a $97.1 million contract from the U.S. Defense Department for procuring 177 mine resistant ambush protected all-terrain vehicles installed with underbody improvements kits. Besides, the company also received a $125.1 million order to supply more than 200 vehicle tractors and wreckers to the U.S. Marine Corps. Delivery is scheduled to begin in Jan. 2012 and is expected to be completed in Sep. 2012.

1. Molycorp ( MCP), a rare earth oxide producer in the Western Hemisphere, owns a rare earth project outside China. The company, still in the development stage, is an integrated producer of rare earth elements like oxides, metals, alloys and magnets.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, 56% assign a buy rating, while 11% advise a hold on it. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 55.9% to $92.00 in the upcoming 12 months.

For its first quarter of 2011, MCR's revenue increased more than seven-fold to $26.3 million from $3.02 million in the year-ago period. Net loss for the quarter narrowed to $909,000 from $7.7 million in the prior-year quarter. Cash flow from operations stood at $5.2 million with cash and cash equivalents at $492.5 million, as of March 31, 2011.

The company's ratio of current cash holdings to its average quarterly operating expenses stand at 19.55, indicating that without generating revenue Molycorp can pay 19.55 quarters worth of average quarterly operating expenses. Also, the continuous increase in rare earth metal prices will see the company generating attractive returns. Additionally, pursuant to its acquisition strategy, MCP has been expanding its production capacity. The acquisition of controlling stakes in Estonia-based AS Silmet and Arizona-based Santoku America in April 2011 will be accretive to 2011 sales revenue.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 6 Mid-Cap Growth Stocks to Watch portfolio on Stockpickr.

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