10 Mid-Cap Stocks Analysts Love

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Analysts expect these 10 mid-cap stocks to outperform the broader market. Analysts see these stocks from diverse sectors having upside potential ranging from 17% to 102%. Among analysts covering the stocks, an average of 74% have buy ratings.

The stocks are listed in ascending order of upside potential.

10. Smithfield Foods ( SFD) sells a range of fresh meat and meat products.

Of the 18 analysts covering the stock, 56% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings. On average, analysts' 12-month price target for the stock is $27.82, 17% higher than the current price, according to Bloomberg data.

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For the second quarter of fiscal 2012, revenue grew 10% to $3.3 billion from about $3 billion in second quarter prior fiscal. Packaged meat sales and core brand sales rose 7% and 10% year-over-year, respectively. Smithfield reported earnings of $120.7 million, or 74 cents per diluted share, vs. $143.7 million, or 86 cents per diluted share in the second quarter fiscal 2011. The company has repurchased $111 million worth stock and has repaid $115 million of long-term bonds, year to date.

Smithfield expects robust global demand for pork during the second half of fiscal 2012, driven by higher demand worldwide, especially China. It forecasts sustainable hog production and targets overall volume growth of 3%.

9. MeadWestvaco ( MWV), a global packaging company for the health care, beauty and personal care, food, beverage, tobacco, and home and garden industries.

Of the 11 analysts covering the stock, 73% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts estimate 26.1% upside to $35.11 in value from current levels.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company reported a 9% increase in sales to $1.6 billion from $1.50 billion in the same quarter last year. Net income was $117 million, or 67 cents per share, swinging from net loss of $15 million, or 9 cents per share, in the third quarter prior fiscal. Capital spending for the first three quarters increased to $439 million from $136 million following the expansion of its corrugated packaging business in Brazil.

The company recently estimated its strategies should create annual growth of 5% to 10% for 2011. Also, focusing on commercial excellence, innovation and emerging markets, the company foresees additional revenue of $1 billion over the next three to five years.

Subsequent to the spinoff of its consumer and office products business, MWV believes that it will be able to focus on the global packaging markets. The merger with ACCO Brands, one of the world's largest office supply manufacturers, will result in MWV receiving 50.5% of the shares of ACCO Brands in a cash transaction totaling $460 million. The deal is seen completing in the first half of 2012.

8. Watson Pharmaceuticals ( WPI) manufactures and distributes generic and branded pharmaceutical products. It operates in Asia, Australia, Western Europe, Canada, South America and South Africa, with its commercial market being the U.S.

Thirteen of the 24 analysts covering the stock recommend a buy. There are no sell ratings on the stock. A consensus forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg has an average 12-month price target of $76.44 for the stock, about 27.5% higher than the current price.

For the third quarter of 2011, Watson reported total revenue of $1.1 billion, up 23% from $882.4 million in the same quarter last year. Adjusted EBITDA rose 22% to $258.2 million, vs. $211.1 million in the third quarter 2010. GAAP diluted earnings per share stood at 54 cents, up from 21 cents in the prior-year quarter. Cash and marketable securities stood at $172.5 million, as of Sept. 30.

In December, Watson Pharmaceuticals and Antares Pharma announced receiving approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Antares' topical oxybutynin gel 3% for the treatment of an overactive bladder. Same week, under a settlement with Teva Women's Health, Watson launched Amethia Lo (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol and ethinyl estradiol) tablets, the generic equivalent of birth control medicine LoSeasonique.

For full year 2011, Watson expects total revenue of over $4.5 billion. The company's generic, brand and distribution segments are expected to generate $3.3 billion, $445 million and $770 million, respectively. Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share are expected in the range of $4.55 and $4.65.

7. Albemarle ( ALB), a specialty chemicals developer operates in three segments: Polymer Solutions, Catalysts and Fine Chemicals.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate 29.9% upside to $62.44 in value from current levels.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company reported net sales of $723 million, compared to $585 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter increased to $116.1 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, from $93.7 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the third quarter prior year. By segment, catalysts generated 39%, while fine chemicals recorded 30%.

Early November, the company received the Biodiesel Corporation of the Year award from the World Refining Association for successfully developing and commercializing highly engineered basic trans-esterification catalysts for the production of fatty acid methyl-ester biodiesel. The company also has partnered with Southern Microbiological Services to open an R&D microbiology lab in Baton Rouge.

Albemarle, in collaboration with Louisiana State University and the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, has developed a method to increase the 3-D visualization of flame retardant and synergist components using element specific X-ray tomography.

Looking ahead, the company expects business to be fundamentally strong and sees the second half of 2011 tracking the first half of 2011. It expects to end 2011 on a positive note, well positioned for 2012.

6. Micros Systems ( MCRS) is a leading solutions company for the hospitality and retail industries in the U.S., Europe, the Pacific Rim and Latin America. Hundreds of companies, including Ikea, Staples and Starbucks, use Micros Systems products and services.

Analysts covering the stock recommend a buy. The stock has no sell or hold ratings. Its average 12-month price target is $59.17, about 32% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

For 2012 first quarter, the company recorded net income of $37.2 million, or 45 cents per share, up 17.8% year-over-year. Overall revenue grew 9.9% to $256.6 million from $233.4 million.

Recently, the company announced that TIG Global, its e-commerce services subsidiary, has been selected by The Jefferson Hotel and Plume Restaurant, a Washington, D.C. luxury hotel and fine dining restaurant, to build its two new Web sites, as well as offer strategic Internet marketing services. In addition, TIG Global has signed an agreement with Washington County Visitors Association, representing Oregon's Washington County, to design, market and host its Web sites.

The company has reiterated its financial guidance for full year 2012, with estimated earnings of $2.09 per share.

5. Crown Holdings ( CCK) manufactures, designs and sells packaging material used in consumer goods. The company operates in three geographic divisions: the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 92% recommend a buy and 8% suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg have average 12-month price target of $43.50, which is 35% higher than the current price.

Net income for 2011 third quarter was reported at $129 million, or 84 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $2,423 million, compared to $126 million, or 78 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $2,205 million in the same quarter prior year. The company's global beverage cans unit sales improved 3% year-over-year. Gross profit rose 5% to $396 million from $377 million during the third quarter of 2010, including $14 million from foreign currency translation.

The company expects 2011 earnings per diluted share (EPS) to be in the range of $2.75 to $2.85.

4. Jarden ( JAH) is a provider of business solutions for consumer, outdoor, branded consumables and process markets. The company generates most of its revenue in the U.S., but has operations in Canada, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, eight recommend a buy and two suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings. The stock's average 12-month price target is $43.50, about 49.1% higher than the current price, according to a consensus of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net revenue for 2011 third quarter grew 11% to $1.8 billion from $1.6 million in the third quarter of 2010. Organic sales surged more than 5% year over year. Net income for the quarter stood at $90.7 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, vs. net income of $80.6 million, or 90 cents per share in the same quarter of the prior year. Jarden paid regular quarterly cash dividend of 8.625 cents per share on Oct. 31 to stockholders of record Oct. 3.

Early December, the company's wholly owned subsidiary Pure Fishing announced acquiring the assets of Beyond Fishing and Sporting Goods in South Africa, Jarden's first direct venture in Africa.

Jarden expects strong momentum next year and targets $5.00 adjusted earnings per share by 2014.

3. Tempur-Pedic International ( TPX) makes mattresses and pillows, selling them in over 80 countries worldwide under the Tempur and Tempur-Pedic brands.

Of the 15 analysts covering the stock, 73% recommend a buy and 27% suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings. The stock's average 12-month price target is $76.33, about 51.4% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

Net revenue for 2011 third quarter rose 30% to $383.1 million from $295.8 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue from North America was up 30% year-over-year, while international revenue surged 28% year-over-year. Gross profit margin improved to 52.4% from 51.0% in the third quarter of 2010, due to improved manufacturing and a fixed cost leverage related to higher production volumes. The company reported net income of $61.9 million, or 90 cents during the quarter under review, vs. $44.2 million or 62 cents in the third quarter of 2010. During the quarter, TPX bought 1.34 million shares of its common stock valued $80.0 million.

The company recently said it will add 100 jobs in its Albuquerque facility by 2013, hiring nearly 50% of new employees in early 2012.

Temper has raised its financial guidance for full year 2011, pegging net sales between $1.405 billion and $1.425 billion and EPS in the range of $3.12 to $3.17 per diluted share.

2. Cliffs Natural Resources ( CLF) produces iron ore pellets and metallurgical coal in North America and is a provider of direct shipping of lump and iron ore fines out of Australia. The company divides its operations into North American Coal, North American Iron Ore, Asia-Pacific Coal, Asia-Pacific Iron Ore, Latin American Iron Ore, Alternative Energies, Ferroalloys and Global Exploration Group.

Of the 20 analysts covering the stock, 80% recommend a buy and 20% suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings. The stock's average 12-month price target is $104.36, about 66.8% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

Net revenue for 2011 third quarter surged 59% year-over-year to $2.1 billion, boosted by higher pricing and sales volume in the iron ore segments. Net income attributable to the company's common shareholders grew almost 100% to $590 million, or $4.07 per diluted share, vs. $297 million, or $2.18 per diluted share, during the third quarter of 2010.

Cash and cash equivalents for the quarter stood at $545 million. The company will repurchase up to four million of its outstanding common shares under a new repurchase plan, wherein it has already acquired over 3 million shares at an average weighted cost of $74 per share for a total investment of $222 million.

Recently, Cliffs estimated its full-year 2012 production volume at its Empire mine in Michigan to be over 2.7 million tons, down from the prior fiscal's expected production volume of over 4.6 million tons, attributable to its planned blast furnace maintenance at one of its North American facilities. However, the company said this cut will not impact its previously announced revenue and production volumes in its U.S. iron ore business segment.

For 2011, Cliffs has updated its full-year revenue per ton in the U.S. iron ore segment to be in the range of $135 to $140, sales volume of 24 million tons, vs. the previous view of $130 to $135, sales volume of 25 million tons..

1. Skyworks Solutions ( SWKS) provides standard and custom linear products for broadband, automotive, industrial, cellular infrastructure, energy management, military, medical and cellular handset applications.

Of the 20 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings. The stock's average 12-month price target is $28.30, which is 101.6% higher than the current price, according to a Bloomberg consensus.

The company reported revenue of $402.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, up 28% from $313.3 million, year on year. Net income increased to $64.2 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, against $46.8 million, or 25 cents per diluted share. For full year 2011, revenue surged 32% to $1.4 billion, vs. $1.1 billion in fiscal 2010. Net income rose to $226.6 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, from $137.3 million, or 75 cents per diluted share.

During November, Skyworks Solutions and Advanced Analogic Technologies amended their prior merger agreement. Under the revised agreement terms, Skyworks is expected to acquire all the outstanding shares of AnalogicTech for $5.80 per share in cash. The transaction is expected to complete by January 2012. During the same month, the company announced the start of volume shipments of analog control switches to Siemens Healthcare for its magnetic resonance imaging scanners. Recently, the company opened a design center in Korea to support the growing demand for 3G and 4G front-end solutions.

For full year 2012, the company sees total revenue of $390 million, up 16% year over year.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Mid-Cap Stocks Analysts Love portfolio on Stockpickr.

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