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Kevin Matras

Zacks.com featured expert Kevin Matras highlights: Align Technology Inc., LeapFrog Enterprises Inc., TransDigm Group Inc., Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. and Whole Foods Market, Inc.

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Chicago, IL – June 27, 2012 - Stocks in this week's article include Align Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: (ALGN - Analyst Report), LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: (LF - Snapshot Report), TransDigm Group Inc. (NYSE: (TDG - Analyst Report), Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ: (ULTA - Snapshot Report) and Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: (WFM - Analyst Report). Kevin Matras looks at the powerful combination of Sales Growth and Increasing Profit Margins.

Screen of the Week written by Kevin Matras of Zacks Investment Research:

This week I want to focus on Sales Growth and Profit Margins. While everybody understands sales, margins might bring up a few question marks. With earnings season only a few weeks away, now is the perfect time to look at this.

So let's start at the beginning: first and foremost, sales are THE most important thing to a company. Everything else stems from that. Without sales, there really wouldn't be anything else to analyze. And Sales Growth numbers show you how that company is growing.

However, just because sales are increasing, doesn't always mean that profits are increasing too. Sales at the expense of profits does not work. So paying attention to Profit Margins is the next thing we're going to want to look at.

Margin is simply a ratio and the calculation is: Net Income divided by Sales

So if a company's margin is 15% for instance, that means its net income is 15 cents for every $1 of sales it makes. But if a company's expenses are growing faster than sales, this will reduce its margins. In general, a company with increasing margins is becoming more profitable and is better managed, i.e., its costs are under control.

So continue to look at their sales numbers. And of course, look at their earnings too. But take a look at their profit margins as well. Are they going up or down? In other words, are they making more money on each dollar of sales they make, or less? This is important stuff to know, and can make a huge difference in your portfolio's bottom line.

Parameters for this week’s screen are...

For the rest of this Screen of the Week article, please visit Zacks.com at: http://www.zacks.com/commentary/22012/

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