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Zacks Investment Research upgraded Northern Technologies International Corp. to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on Jan 21, 2014.

Why the Upgrade?

Northern Technologies International reported impressive results for the fiscal first quarter 2014 (ended Nov 30, 2013). Since then, the share price of the company has gained 1.6%. The company reported earnings per share of 19 cents, more than double of 9 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.

Net sales in the quarter grew by 19.2% year over year on the back of solid sales growth of Northern Technologies International’s ZERUST products and services and to customers in the oil and gas industry. Operating margin in the quarter came in at 24.0% versus 18.3% in the year-ago quarter.

For fiscal 2014, Northern Technologies International anticipates net sales in the $27.5–$29.0 million range and earnings per share within 95 cents to $1.05. Both the revenue and earnings per share forecast represents a respective increase from $22.5 million and 75 cents recorded in fiscal 2013.

In the last 30 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Northern Technologies International increased 5.3% to $1.00 for fiscal 2014 and 7.7% to $1.40 for fiscal 2015. Currently, the company has an Earnings ESP (Estimated Surprise Prediction) of +12.2% for fiscal 2014. Also, earnings are predicted to grow 20% in the next 5 years.

Other Stocks to Consider

Northern Technologies International with a market cap of $82.4 million operates in the chemical-diversified industry. Other stocks worth considering in the industry include L'Air Liquide SA , Compass Minerals International Inc. and Koppers Holdings Inc. . While L'Air Liquide SA carries the same rank as Northern Technologies, both Compass Minerals and koppers Holdings bear a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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