NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Industrial stocks underperformed the broader market in the first half of the year, but several firms had big gains.

The S&P 500 industrials sector index dropped 4.1%, worse than the overall S&P 500 index, which rose 0.2% through June 30, 2015. Yet, some S&P 500 industrial companies had big wins in the first half of the year. Here are the top ten. These stocks are buys for the most part, according to TheStreet Ratings.

TheStreet paired each of these tickers with TheStreet Ratings to let you know if you should buy, sell, or hold these best performing stocks. Check out which stocks were among the best S&P 500 performers to date. 

TheStreet Ratings, TheStreet's proprietary ratings tool, projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points, TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

CTAS Chart CTAS data by YCharts

10. Cintas Corp. (CTAS - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Diversified Support Service
Market Cap: $9.7 billion
Rating: Buy, A
Year-to-date return: 7.8%

Cintas Corporation provides corporate identity uniforms and related business services primarily in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia.

TheStreet said: "We rate CINTAS CORP (CTAS) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 36.30% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, CTAS should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • CINTAS CORP has improved earnings per share by 14.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, CINTAS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.04 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.34 versus $3.04).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Services & Supplies industry. The net income increased by 12.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $84.60 million to $94.88 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.63, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, CTAS has a quick ratio of 1.57, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Services & Supplies industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CINTAS CORP has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
ALLE Chart ALLE data by YCharts

9. Allegion Plc (ALLE - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Building Products
Market Cap: $5.8 billion
Rating: Hold, C-
Year-to-date return: 8.4%

Allegion Public Limited Company manufactures and sells mechanical and electronic security products and solutions worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate ALLEGION PLC (ALLE) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's revenue growth has not been good."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, our view is that this company's fundamentals will not have much impact in either direction, allowing the stock to generally move up or down based on the push and pull of the broad market.
  • ALLEGION PLC has improved earnings per share by 23.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, ALLEGION PLC increased its bottom line by earning $1.93 versus $0.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.77 versus $1.93).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 588.88% to $4.40 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ALLEGION PLC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 34.17%.
  • ALLE, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.7%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
COL Chart COL data by YCharts

8. Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL)
Sub-Industry: Aerospace & Defense
Market Cap: $12.2 billion
Rating: Buy, A
Year-to-date return: 9.3%

Rockwell Collins, Inc. designs, produces, and supports communications and aviation systems for commercial and military customers worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Commercial Systems, Government Systems, and Information Management Service.

TheStreet said: "We rate ROCKWELL COLLINS INC (COL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • COL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Aerospace & Defense industry average. The net income increased by 6.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $148.00 million to $157.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 77.22% to $179.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ROCKWELL COLLINS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -46.55%.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to other companies in the Aerospace & Defense industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ROCKWELL COLLINS INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
SWK Chart SWK data by YCharts

7. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (SWK - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $16.2 billion
Rating: Buy, A
Year-to-date return: 9.5%

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. provides power and hand tools, mechanical access solutions, and electronic security and monitoring systems for various industrial applications.

TheStreet said: "We rate STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC (SWK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in net income, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry average. The net income increased by 0.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $161.90 million to $162.30 million.
  • STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.37 versus $3.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.79 versus $5.37).
  • 40.92% is the gross profit margin for STANLEY BLACK & DECKER INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 6.17% trails the industry average.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.

DE ChartDE data by YCharts

6. Deere & Co. (DE - Get Report)
Market Cap: $32.4 billion
Rating: Buy, A-
Year-to-date return: 9.7%

Deere & Company, together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and distributes agriculture and turf, and construction and forestry equipment worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate DEERE & CO (DE) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 514.70% to $355.40 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, DEERE & CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -21.26%.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that DE's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • DE, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 11.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Machinery industry and the overall market, DEERE & CO's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for DEERE & CO is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 31.87%. Regardless of DE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 8.44% trails the industry average.
ROP Chart ROP data by YCharts

5. Roper Technologies Inc. (ROP - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Industrial Conglomerates
Market Cap: $17.3 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 10.3%

Roper Technologies, Inc., a diversified technology company, designs and develops software (both license and software-as-a-service), and engineered products and solutions for healthcare, transportation, food, energy, water, education, and academic research markets worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate ROPER TECHNOLOGIES INC (ROP) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.55, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, ROP has a quick ratio of 1.75, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • ROPER TECHNOLOGIES INC has improved earnings per share by 5.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ROPER TECHNOLOGIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.40 versus $5.37 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.87 versus $6.40).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Industrial Conglomerates industry. The net income increased by 5.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $147.23 million to $155.77 million.

 

ROK Chart ROK data by YCharts

4. Rockwell Automation Inc. (ROK - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Electrical Components & Equipment
Market Cap: $16.8 billion
Rating: Buy, A
Year-to-date return: 12.1%

Rockwell Automation, Inc. provides industrial automation power, control, and information solutions. The company operates through two segments, Architecture & Software and Control Products & Solutions.

TheStreet said: "We rate ROCKWELL AUTOMATION (ROK) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.59, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, ROK has a quick ratio of 2.42, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Electrical Equipment industry and the overall market, ROCKWELL AUTOMATION's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 45.93% is the gross profit margin for ROCKWELL AUTOMATION which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 13.28% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $285.20 million or 40.63% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ROCKWELL AUTOMATION has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.57%.
  • ROCKWELL AUTOMATION has improved earnings per share by 18.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, ROCKWELL AUTOMATION increased its bottom line by earning $5.91 versus $5.36 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.60 versus $5.91).
SNA Chart SNA data by YCharts

3. Snap-On Inc. (SNA - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $9.3 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 16.5%

Snap-on Incorporated manufactures and markets tools, equipment, diagnostics, and repair information and systems solutions for professional users worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate SNAP-ON INC (SNA) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.43, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, SNA has a quick ratio of 1.57, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • SNAP-ON INC has improved earnings per share by 15.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, SNAP-ON INC increased its bottom line by earning $7.15 versus $5.93 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.01 versus $7.15).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Machinery industry average. The net income increased by 15.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $95.90 million to $110.50 million.
  • The gross profit margin for SNAP-ON INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.07%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 12.48% is above that of the industry average.
EFX Chart EFX data by YCharts

2. Equifax Inc. (EFX - Get Report)
Sub-Industry: Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $11.6 billion
Rating: Buy, A+
Year-to-date return: 20.1%

Equifax Inc. provides information solutions and human resources business process outsourcing services for businesses, governments, and consumers.

TheStreet said: "We rate EQUIFAX INC (EFX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 38.37% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, EFX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • EQUIFAX INC has improved earnings per share by 8.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, EQUIFAX INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.97 versus $2.69 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.33 versus $2.97).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Professional Services industry average. The net income increased by 5.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $83.90 million to $88.30 million.
  • The gross profit margin for EQUIFAX INC is rather high; currently it is at 67.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 13.54% is above that of the industry average.

PLL ChartPLL data by YCharts

1. Pall Corp. (PLL)
Sub-Industry: Industrial Machinery
Market Cap: $13.3 billion
Rating: Buy, A
Year-to-date return: 23%

Pall Corporation manufactures and markets filtration, separation, and purification products; and integrated systems solutions worldwide.

TheStreet said: "We rate PALL CORP (PLL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • PALL CORP has improved earnings per share by 11.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PALL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.26 versus $2.88 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.78 versus $3.26).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Machinery industry average. The net income increased by 8.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $88.69 million to $96.18 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.72, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.27, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Machinery industry and the overall market, PALL CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PALL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 56.27%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.11% is above that of the industry average.