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Stock Upgrades, Downgrades From Ratings

Under Armour (UA) designs, markets and distributes apparel and accessories made of synthetic microfiber. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy.

The company's third-quarter revenue rose by 46.3% compared with the same period last year, exceeding the industry average of 12.5%. Under Armour's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.06 is below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Its net income rose 25.4% to $20.03 million in the third quarter compared with $15.97 million in the same period last year.

However, as a counter to these strengths, Ratings find weaknesses that include premium valuation and weak operating cash flow. Under Armour was rated a hold when coverage was initiated in December 2006, and was briefly upgraded to a buy on Nov. 20 on the basis of fluctuations in its price level.

Regency Energy Partners (RGNC) gathers, processes and transports natural gas in north Louisiana, Texas and the mid-continent region of the U.S. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy.

The company's third-quarter revenue rose by 24.6% compared with the same period last year, outpacing the industry average of 3.8%. Regency Energy's losses narrowed to 23 cents per share in the third quarter from 25 cents a year earlier. It has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. The company's weaknesses income poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow. Its stock has climbed 14.48% in the last 12 months, but there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock at its current price. Regency Energy had been rated a sell since coverage was initiated in March 2007.

Telecom Argentina S.A. (TEO) provides fixed-line public telecommunications, data transmission, Internet services and publishing services in Argentina. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold.

The company's third-quarter net income rose by 237.1% to $70.04 million from $20.78 million in the same period last year, and its earnings rose to 37 cents per share compared with 11 cents a share over the same period. Telecom Argentina's return on equity improved to 21.69% in the third quarter from negative 9.71% in the same period last year. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Its revenue rose by 17.1% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, although this trailed the industry average of 30.0%.

Powered by its earnings growth and other important driving factors, Telecom Argentina's stock price has increased by 62.8% in the past 12 months, exceeding the rise in the S&P 500 during the same period. While the sharp rise over the past 12 months has driven this stock to a price level which is relatively expensive compared with the rest of its industry, the higher price is justified given the other strengths the company shows. Telecom Argentina had been rated a hold since August 2007.

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