Zacks.com featured expert Kevin Matras highlights: Exterran Holdings, Inc., The St. Joe Company, Lawson Products, Inc., Pandora Media, Inc. and Vulcan Materials Company

CHICAGO, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Stocks in this week's article include: Exterran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: EXH), The St. Joe Company (NYSE: JOE), Lawson Products, Inc. (NASDAQ: LAWS), Pandora Media, Inc. (NYSE: P) and Vulcan Materials Company (NYSE: VMC). Kevin Matras screens for companies showing their 'first' profit, and explains why they are ones to watch.

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Screen of the Week written by Kevin Matras of Zacks Investment Research: With earnings season once again upon us, it's time for me to pull out my 'First Profit' stock screen. The concept for this one is to find companies that have just recently shown their first quarterly profit within the last year.

Some of these companies will be relatively new, so this recent profit may be the only profit in the company's history so far. Others may have a long history of profitability, but haven't seen a profit in a while for whatever reason -- but have finally returned to profitability.

I like this concept because if the trend has been one of improvement, there's a good chance that trend will continue. This is true whether you've been profitable or are just getting profitable.

But some (like myself for example) dislike buying companies that cannot show a profit. And there are many others who won't even consider a stock unless it's making money.

Losing less than the previous quarter is indeed an improvement. And in that respect, by definition, it is growth, i.e., they're growing less unprofitable. And it's even better if the losses are less and less in each sequential quarter.

But there's something entirely different about growth AND being profitable. And those are the stocks that will likely see the best new demand from new investors. People who are now, all of a sudden, willing to take notice of and pay attention to the stock.

And that's what we're screening for today…

For the rest of this Screen of the Week article please visit Zacks.com at:

http://www.zacks.com/commentary/25376/

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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

About Screen of the Week

Zacks.com created the first and best screening system on the web earning the distinction as the "#1 site for screening stocks" by Money Magazine.  But powerful screening tools is just the start. That is why Zacks created the Screen of the Week to highlight profitable stock picking strategies that investors can actively use. Each week, Zacks Profit from the Pros free email newsletter shares a new screening strategy. Learn more about it here http://at.zacks.com/?id=112

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SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.



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