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Tickers in this Article: NOVA, DPZ, SNA, NOV, PZZA
There are many factors that can make a stock a success for an investor. The four stocks we look at here involve a little of everything, including a down-and-out stock that's slowly making its way back. These stocks also vary in the business they conduct and their market caps, but what they have in common is that they are shaping up to be winning picks. Read on for four different stocks with equally good possibilities. IN PICTURES: Digging Out Of Debt In 8 Steps

Micro Cap - NovaMed (Nasdaq:NOVA)
NovaMed partners with physicians to own and manage ambulatory surgical centers, or ASCs for short. These facilities provide surgical procedures that don't require overnight stays. The Chicago-based company went public in 1999, growing from $102.6 million to $141.2 million in 2008. It doesn't seem like much until you consider that in 2003, its revenues dropped to $55.5 million. Then, between 2004 and 2008, it regained what it previously lost, growing 154% in just five years. During the up-and-down years between 1999 and 2003, it only experiences one operating loss - in 2001. Today, it maintains a 25.4% operating margin and it's holding steady. On October 29, it announced third-quarter earnings and they were decent, if not spectacular. Revenues grew 8% from $36.05 million to $38.77 million and diluted earnings per share were up 14%, or one penny, to 8 cents. Free cash flow in the trailing 12 months was $21.7 million, producing a FCF yield of 22%. That's nice, and this is one solid company. (For more on FCF yield, see Free Cash Flow Yield: The Best Fundamental Indicator.)

Small Cap - Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ)
The first thing most investors will notice about Domino's is its debt. In the third quarter, it had $1.62 billion of the long-term variety against negative shareholder equity of $1.35 billion. That's bad news. The good news is it appears to be moving in the right direction judging by its latest quarterly earnings. Revenues increased 6.5% to $302.7 million and earnings per share grew 30.8%, excluding gains from retiring debt. Apparently, Wall Street didn't like the news and knocked 10% off its stock price. That's even more reason to buy. Domino's is fighting a huge battle on the pizza front with both Papa John's (Nasdaq:PZZA) and Pizza Hut. In Q3, Pappa John's same-store sales grew 1.7%, Domino's sales were flat and Pizza Hut's dropped 13%. Internationally, Domino's saw comparable sales rise 2.7%. I'd say it's more than hanging in there. Lastly, it's important to note this quote from Domino's CEO regarding its debt: "Those agreements [long-term franchise agreements] do not show up on our balance sheet and they're worth billions and billions of dollars." Keep that in mind when analyzing this stock.

Mid Cap - Snap-On (NYSE:SNA)
This Kenosha, Wisconsin, toolmaker handily beat analyst expectations in the third quarter, delivering earnings per share of 44 cents - 15 cents better than expected. Revenues were $581.8 million, $2 million ahead of the estimates. We are in a recession, and these impressive numbers were against the backdrop of a 16.6% drop in revenue year-over-year. The power tool companies have been taking it on the chin this year, and it likely won't get much better in Q4 - or into 2010 for that matter. Having said that, Snap-On a company with a strong position in the marketplace, and once the economy recovers, so will its growth. Analysts estimate Snap-On will earn $2.09 this year. That was before it beat Q3 estimates. For the fourth quarter, analysts are calling for a 55-cent result. It'll probably be higher but we'll go with that. The 2010 forward price-to-earnings ratio is about 15. Considering the five-year high for its P/E is 33.5, I'd say Snap-On is on sale right now. (For more on analyst expectations, be sure to read Analyst Forecasts Spell Disaster For Some Stocks.)

Large Cap - National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV)
Like betting on horses because of their names, I'd invest in this stock based on its name alone. Thankfully, there are plenty of other things to like about the oil services giant. Its third quarter, like many companies in America, was a good news/bad news situation. First the bad news: Revenues were $500 million lighter, falling to $3.1 billion year-over-year, while earnings per share were down 29.8% to 92 cents from $1.31. However, NOV beat analyst expectations for earnings by 16.5%, or 13 cents. That's no consolation for a huge drop in revenues but at least the company is performing better than expected.

So what can we expect in the future? The company continues to seek out opportunities and acquisitions around the world and is positioned to pounce when the time comes. Analysts expect 2010 EPS of $3.05, which gives it a forward P/E of 13.6. That's well below its five-year high of 49.4. In terms of almost every valuation metric, it's currently undervalued compared to others in its industry as well as those in the S&P 500. In the next five years, it should revisit $80. That's a good return for a large cap.

Bottom Line
All four of these stocks have strong free cash flow in extremely competitive businesses. This helps in difficult times like today.

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