SMALL CAP: Aaon
Ticker: AAON
52 week high/low: $13-23
Market Cap: $362 million
P/E Ratio: 13
Return on Assets: 20%
Free Cash Flow: $48 million

The tough economic climate hasn't chilled this $362 million air conditioning and heating equipment maker. In fact, even though sales slid 2%, AAON posted its highest-ever first quarter earnings: Net income was up 5% over 2008 results, to $6.7 million, thanks to lower material costs and better efficiency.

Those results are impressive considering that roughly half of the company's revenues come from the hard-hit sector of new construction. But the other side of AAON's business -- replacing units in existing buildings -- is holding up well, thanks in part to the federal government's push to make older buildings more energy-efficient. "This is where AAON shines," noted Zacks Investment Research analyst John Simon in a recent report.

--Eugenia Levenson

Exponent

Criteria include market capitalizations between $200 milion and $1 bilion, at least 8% return on assets, positive free cash flow, and share price no higher than $35. All data related to stock price as of June 1, 2009. P/E ratios based on the previous 12 months' reported earnings. Free cash flow based on latest fiscal year.
Last updated November 04 2011: 11:59 AM ET