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10 healthy, growing companies that can help you beat the stock market

Gilead, Balchem and eight others produce strong sales and profits, and relatively low valuations

Gilead Sciences, Inc.
Gilead Sciences has boosted sales per share 73% and more than doubled earnings per share over the past 12 months.

As the stock market seesaws, you are no doubt receiving advice to go for “quality” when selecting investments.

A focus on companies with a track record for earnings growth can be a good approach, especially if dividend income is your objective. It will also be important if we are indeed heading into a deflationary “ice age,” which was predicted recently by analysts at Société Générale.

But what’s wrong with investing for growth? Typically, companies with the fastest sales growth can make investors a lot of money. Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.45% has been one of those for years, despite continued nay-saying.

To be sure, a company doesn’t need to show large and steady profits for its stock to soar. Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.38% is a notable example, with its stock rising 67% this year. The company’s sales per share over the past 12 months have risen 16%, though earnings per share have been negative.

To find strong and healthy companies, we looked at the S&P 1500 Composite Index and identified those that posted the fastest sales growth while also increasing earnings.

Here are the top 10:

CompanyTickerIndustrySales per share - past 12 monthsSales per share - year earlierGrowth of sales per share
Enanta Pharmaceuticals Inc.ENTA,+4.12%Biotechnology$7.74$2.43218%
ANI Pharmaceuticals Inc.ANIP,+1.37%Pharmaceuticals$6.69$3.6285%
Avago Technologies Inc.AVGO,+1.83%Semiconductors$23.46$13.4674%
Gilead Sciences Inc.GILD,-0.08%Biotechnology$18.04$10.4373%
Synaptics Inc.SYNA,-0.82%Computer peripherals$44.02$25.9070%
Minerals Technologies Inc.MTX,-0.18%Industrial specialties$56.63$33.8267%
Lithia Motors Inc. Class ALAD,-0.36%Auto dealers$259.67$167.1155%
Balchem Corp.BCPC,+0.68%Specialty Chemicals$19.18$12.4854%
Skyworks Solutions Inc.SWKS,+0.10%Semiconductors$15.90$10.6649%
Walker & Dunlop Inc.WD,+0.90%Commercial real estate finance$12.07$8.1448%
Source: FactSet