Stocks: Nine Up-and-Coming Mid-Caps

S&P's latest screen cherry-picks a list of 300 global growth plays for companies with its top investment rankings

Look out, global large-cap blue chips. There's a group of up-and-coming mid-cap companies that are eager to become the blue chips of tomorrow.

Every year, Standard & Poor's Index Services, which operates independently from S&P Equity Research, publishes a list of 300 mid-size companies that are expected to emerge as challengers to the world's leading blue-chip companies. (The full list can be viewed here.) Designated the S&P Global Challengers, the list is comprised of publicly traded companies that show the highest growth characteristics along dimensions encompassing intrinsic and extrinsic growth.

Standard & Poor's publishes the list yearly and tracks its performance. The S&P Global Challengers list is based upon a methodology that applies consistent standards to multiple countries. The attributes used to identify the companies are share price appreciation, sales growth, earnings growth, and employee growth. The 2008 class of S&P Global Challengers has representation from 33 countries and nine sectors.

We wanted to use the list as a springboard for this week's screen. We looked for U.S. stocks among the Global Challengers which carried rankings of 4 STARS (buy) or 5 STARS (strong buy) from S&P equity analysts, meaning that they are expected to outperform the overall market on a total return basis and rise in price on an absolute basis over the coming 12 months.

Nine stocks rose to the challenge:

Company Ticker S&P STARS Rank
Buckeye Partners BPL 4
Bucyrus International BUCY 4
Chattem CHTT 4
DeVry DV 4
Guess GES 4
GulfMark GLF 5
Heico HEI 4
Psychiatric Solutions PSYS 5
Reliance Steel & Aluminum RS 4
Superior Energy Services SPN 5
Titanium Metals TIE 5
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