Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers: Silicom, Michael Baker, Excel
Maritime Carriers, Dawson Geophysical and Key Technology
CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--September 11, 2007 Zacks.com announces the latest list of top performing Zacks #1 Rank ("strong buy") stocks. The stocks on the prestigious list with the highest returns last week were Silicom Ltd. (NASDAQ: SILC), Michael Baker Corporation (AMEX: BKR), Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. (NYSE: EXM), Dawson Geophysical Company (NASDAQ: DWSN) and Key Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTEC). Each of these stocks easily outperformed the S&P 500.
Stocks ranked #1 (Strong Buy) by Zacks have produced an average annual return of +32.2% since inception in 1988. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained 43.8% while the S&P 500 tumbled 37.6%. To learn more about the Zacks Rank, go to http://at.zacks.com/?id=3172.
Here is a synopsis of the last week's best performing Zacks #1 Rank stocks.
Silicom Ltd. (NASDAQ: SILC) announced last week a new line of Standalone BYPASS cards and modules, which will offer full BYPASS functionality in a ready-for-integration add-on card or module with no extra communication ports. According to the company, the innovative feature of the new product line takes it another step towards becoming a 'one-stop shop' for best-in-breed appliance connectivity solutions. Silicom Ltd. is an industry-leading provider of high-performance server/appliances networking solutions.
Silicom was a top-performing Zacks #1 Rank company last week with a gain of 19.1%. For its second quarter, the company reported earnings per share of 25 cents on revenues of $6.6 million. The earnings results soared almost 400% from the previous year's six cents and beat the consensus by 25%. Revenues increased 82% from $3.6 million.
Michael Baker Corporation (AMEX: BKR) provides engineering and operations and maintenance services. Shares of this Zacks #1 Rank advanced 17.4% last week. Over the last two months, earnings estimates for this year are up approximately 12%. Michael Baker's primary practice areas include aviation, environmental, facilities, geospatial information technologies, pipelines & telecommunications, transportation, water/wastewater and oil & gas.
Early last month, the company announced second-quarter earnings per share of 96 cents, versus 13 cents in the year-ago quarter. That marked a positive earnings surprise of 129% above the consensus. Total contract revenues moved to $192 million from $156 million. The quarter was led by revenue and operating income growth in the energy segment and about $4.9 million of award and project performance-based incentive fees. Michael Baker Corp. expects both of its segments to show continued quarter-over-quarter improvement for the rest of this year, after non-recurring items.
Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd. (NYSE: EXM) finished August in fine form with two consecutive appearance on the Zacks #1 Rank top performers list. The seaborne transportation services company picked up where it left off in September, advancing 11.3% last week. Earnings estimates for this year have been trending higher for months now, gaining 15.4% in the past 30 trading days and 2.7% in the past seven trading days.
Stemming from strength in shipping markets and consistent implementation of its balanced fleet deployment strategy, Excel Maritime Carriers put together strong second-quarter numbers. Earnings per share, excluding items, reached 71 cents on total revenues of $37.3 million. EPS topped the consensus by almost 25% while revenues increased from $26.7 million. Excel Maritime Carriers believes its strong balance sheet enables it to further pursue fleet expansion opportunities.
Dawson Geophysical Company (NASDAQ: DWSN) was a top-performing Zacks #1 Rank company for the week ended Sep 7 as shares rose 10.2%. Earnings estimates for the year ending this month are up 9.8% over the past two months. Dawson Geophysical is the leading provider of U.S. onshore seismic data acquisition services as measured by the number of active data acquisition crews.
Early last month, the company announced that fiscal third-quarter revenue jumped 65% to $68.6 million from $41.5 million. The growth was attributed to several factors, including the addition of two seismic data acquisition crews during fiscal 2006 and another in April 2007. Earnings per share of 98 cents beat the consensus by more than 25% and improved handily from last year's 56 cents. In addition, Dawson's Board increased its fiscal 2007 capital budget by $16.9 million to $55 million.
Helped by record quarterly revenues and backlog, Key Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ: KTEC) reported solid fiscal third-quarter results last month. Earnings per share reached 54 cents, which beat the consensus by more than 63% while easily topping the year-ago performance of seven cents. Net sales pushed forward to $31 million from $21.5 million. The company's backlog at the end of the quarter was $36.7 million, versus $24.7 million a year earlier. New orders received were 33.6 million, compared to $22.5 million. The company believes it is on track to achieve record annual net sales in fiscal 2007.
Shares of Key Technology gained 9.9% last week, putting it on the Zacks #1 Rank top performers list. The company is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of process automation systems for the food processing and industrial markets.
About the Zacks Rank
Since 1988, the Zacks Rank has proven that "Earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices." Since inception in 1988, #1 Rank stocks have generated an average annual return of +32.2%. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained +43.8%, while the S&P 500 tumbled -37.6%. Also note that the Zacks Rank system has just as many Strong Sell recommendations (Rank #5) as Strong Buy recommendations (Rank #1). Since 1988, Zacks Rank #5 stocks have underperformed the S&P 500 by 131.8% annually (+5.2% vs. +11.9%). Thus, the Zacks Rank system allows investors to truly manage portfolio trading effectively.
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