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Zacks #1 Rank Top Performers: Terex Corporation, FARO Technologies, Varian Semiconductor, Honda Motor and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.

CHICAGO -- 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 Terex Corporation (NYSE: TEX), FARO Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: FARO), Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSEA), Honda Motor Company (NYSE: HMC) and Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE: RBA). Each of these stocks easily outperformed the S&P 500.

Stocks ranked #1 (Strong Buy) by Zacks have produced an average annual return of +31.8% 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

Here is a synopsis of the last week's best performing Zacks #1 Rank stocks.

Terex Corporation (NYSE: TEX) was one of the top-performing Zacks #1 Rank companies last week. TEX gained 8.9% and set new 52-week highs in response to being added into the S&P 500.

Traders were also motivated by a positive trend in earnings estimate revisions and a recently announced stock buyback. Analyst forecasts for this year and next have been revised upwards over the past 30 days. The construction and mining equipment manufacturer also recently announced a $200 million share repurchase program.

FARO Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: FARO) is a Zacks #1 Rank company that gained 7.3% over the past week. The company designs, develops, and markets portable, computerized measurement devices and software used to create digital models. It reached fresh 52-week highs on Dec 21 and Dec 22. Over the past two months, earnings estimates on FARO for 2006 have improved by 33.3%. Expectations for next year are up approximately 19% in that time.

On Dec 12, FARO Technologies announced that the Patent & Trademark Office rejected key claims in Hexagon's '148 patent infringement case. The case was filed by Romer-CimCore, which is a subsidiary of Hexagon, AB. Hexagon is FARO's largest competitor. According to FARO, if this rejection is ultimately made final, then the patent claims will be invalidated and FARO will therefore prevail in the litigation.

Shares of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSEA) rose 6.1% over the past week, making this company one of the top-performing Zacks #1 Ranks. Furthermore, it hit new 52-week highs on Dec 15, Dec 18 and Dec 22. VSEA is the leading supplier of ion implant equipment to semiconductor manufacturers. Earnings estimates for the fiscal year ending September 2007 are up approximately 7.9% over the past two months.

In early December, the company increased the amount of funds that may be expended in repurchasing its common stock to $300 million from $200 million.

Honda Motor Company (NYSE: HMC) closed out last week with fresh 52-week highs on Dec 21 and Dec 22. Undoubtedly, that helped the company become one of the top performers with a gain of 5.8% for the week ended Dec 22. With General Motors stumbling at the moment, Japanese automakers such as Honda find themselves in the driver's seat.

Honda expects to achieve all-time record sales in all three product areas. Automobiles are expected to rise 5% from 2005 to 3.55 million units, while motorcycles and power products should gain 3% and 15% to 12.7 million units and 6.4 million units respectively.

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers (NYSE: RBA) announced on Friday a preliminary estimate of $2.72 billion in gross auction sales for the 2006 auction calendar, marking a 30% year-over-year increase. The world's largest industrial auctioneer gained 5.1% last week to become one of the best-performing Zacks #1 Rank companies. For the years ending this month and December 2007, earnings estimates are up approximately 6.6% and 5.2% respectively.

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 +31.8%. 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 143.6% annually (+4.8% vs. +11.8%). Thus, the Zacks Rank system allows investors to truly manage portfolio trading effectively.

To view the current Zacks #1 Rank List and to see additional Zacks Rank resources, go to

Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter offers continuous coverage of Zacks Rank stocks and highlights those stocks poised to outperform the market. Subscribe to this free newsletter today by visiting

About Zacks is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leonard Zacks. As a PhD in mathematics Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros by going to

Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.

(a) The Zacks Performance Rank performance is the total return of equal weighted simulated portfolios consisting of those stocks with the indicated Zacks Rank net of fees. Results reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings. Simulated results do not represent actual trading and may not reflect the impact that economic and market factors might have had on decision-making if an adviser were actually managing a client's money.

(b) The S&P 500 Index ("S&P 500") is a well-known, unmanaged index of the prices of 500 large-company common stocks selected by Standard & Poor's. The S&P 500 includes the reinvestment of all dividends, no transaction costs, and represents the gross returns before management fees.

Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Dec 27, 2006
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