Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings updates its ratings on the stocks it covers. The proprietary ratings model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period, including both price appreciation and dividends. Buy, hold or sell ratings designate how the Ratings group expects these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.
While the ratings model is quantitative, it uses both subjective and objective elements. For instance, subjective elements include expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and company earnings forecasts. Objective elements include volatility of past operating revenue, financial strength and company cash flows.
Brunswick Corp. (BC - Get Report) manufactures and sells boats, marine engines, fitness equipment and bowling and billiard products. It has been downgraded to a sell from a hold. The company's weaknesses include a 36.4% EPS decline in the second quarter from the same period last year, to 63 cents per share from 99 cents per share in 2006. Its return on equity has also gone down from the same quarter the previous year, and its net profit margin of 3.80% trails that of the industry average. Brunswick's stock price has decreased by 16.89% in the last 12 months. It had been rated a hold since April 2005.
Oil and natural gas producer Clayton Williams Energy (CWEI - Get Report) has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company's revenue grew by 32.2% in the second quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, and its net operating cash flow increased 35.92% to $53.71 million. The company's profit margins are also expanding. As a counter to these strengths, Clayton Williams' debt-to-equity ratio of 3.26 is above that of the industry average, implying that there is very poor management of debt levels. Likewise, its return on equity has decreased compared to the year-earlier period, a major sign of weakness. The stock had been rated a sell since March 2007.