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The last five years for the US and global economy have been a roller coaster. Some firms’ earnings have been taken for a wild ride while others have been able to navigate more successfully. Companies that have a history of being able to consistently grow earnings in lean and healthy economic times often illustrate desirable characteristics that indicate it may be a best of breed for their relative industry.

We ran a screen for companies that have been able to consistently grow earnings over the last five years on average in excess of 15%. From this pool we screened for companies that only had market beta risk of 1 and/or lower. We did not screen out any sectors.

The list below is sorted from highest to lowest by the earnings growth rate.

1. Cephalon, Inc (NASDAQ: CEPH)

Sector

Healthcare

Industry

Biotechnology

Market Cap

$6.1B

Beta

.4

Analyst Sentiment

16/20 - List Neutral/Hold (Hold)

The firm develops and markets products that treat human diseases in four core areas: pain, addiction, cancer, & central nervous system disorders. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 36.8%. In the last month CEPH has lost 1.41% in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 4.1% as of 07/15/2011.

2. NASDAQ OMX Group (NASDAQ: NDAQ)

Sector

Financial

Industry

Diversified Investments

Market Cap

$4.0B

Beta

1.0

Analyst Sentiment

10/20 – List Neutral/Hold (Hold)

The firm offers securities trading, information products, and listing services. The firm is a US equity securities market in the US. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 27.6%. In the last month, NDAQ has lost 13.25 % in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 1.70% as of 07/15/2011

3. Ross Stores Inc (NASDAQ: ROST)

Sector

Services

Industry

Apparel Stores

Market Cap

$8.6B

Beta

.7

Analyst Sentiment

17/25 - List Neutral/Hold (Hold)

The Company operates two chains of off-price retail apparel and home accessories stores, which target value-conscious women and men between the ages of 18 and 54, primarily from middle income households.

The firm operates two chains of retail & home accessory stores that target the middle class. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 26.2%. In the last month, ROST has lost 9.41% in value.

Short Interest Note: N/A

4.Diamond Offshore Drilling (NASDAQ: DO)

Sector

Basic Materials

Industry

Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration

Market Cap

$8.7

Beta

.8

Analyst Sentiment

20/38 - List Neutral/Hold (Hold)

The firm offers offshore drilling services for the energy industry on a contract basis.

The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 23.6%. In the last month DO has lost 12.98% in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 17.70% as of 07/15/2011

5. FLIR Systems (NYSE: FLIR)

Sector

Industrial Goods

Industry

Aerospace/ Defense

Market Cap

$3.9B

Beta

.9

Analyst Sentiment

11/17 - Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm designs and markets infrared camera systems and thermal imaging. Its clients range from industrial to government entities. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 22.0%. In the last month, FLIR has lost 27.38% in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 4.10% as of 07/15/2011

6. Xilinx (NYSE: XLNX)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Semiconductor-specialized

Market Cap

$8.0B

Beta

.9

Analyst Sentiment

15/28 - Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm builds advanced integrated circuits, predefined system functions, software design tools, offers field engineering and technical support, and other services. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 20%. In the last month XLNX has lost 18.29% in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm 10.00% is as of 07/15/2011

7. Cerner Corp (NASDAQ: CERN)

Sector

Technology

Industry

Healthcare Information Services

Market Cap

$10.1B

Beta

1

Analyst Sentiment

9/16 - Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm supplies healthcare devices and healthcare information technology. Services offered range from clinical process optimization to healthcare data analysis. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 19.90%. In the last month, CERN has lost 4.86% in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 26.80% as of 07/15/2011

8. Stericycle Inc (NASDAQ: SRCL)

Sector

Industrial Goods

Industry

Waste Management

Market Cap

$6.8B

Beta

.3

Analyst Sentiment

9/16 - Neutral/Hold (Neutral)

The firm manages and provides services relative to regulated waste within the US and several foreign countries. The firm’s average Earnings Growth Rate over the last 5-years is 19.30%. In the last month, SRCL has lost 14.08 % in value.

Short Interest Note: The short interest for the firm is 2.90% as of 07/15/2011

We hope this helps investors as they do their own homework and due diligence on companies that have been able to keep on growing earnings to the benefit of shareholders, even in these tumultuous economic times relative to market beta risk.

Source: 8 Mid Caps That Keep Growing Earnings With Index Equivalent Risk