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Stock Upgrades, Downgrades From Ratings

Coach (COH) designs accessories and gifts for men and women. It has been downgraded to hold from buy.

The company's revenue grew by 27.8% in the first quarter of its fiscal 2008 compared with the same period last year, outpacing the industry average of 10.8%. Coach is carrying no debt and maintains a quick ratio of 3.44, which demonstrates its ability to cover short-term cash needs. The company has also displayed an impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, Coach's share price has fallen by 28.9% in the last 12 months, and we believe it is currently too soon to buy despite the depressed price. Coach had been rated a buy since December 2005.

Alliance One International (AOI) sells leaf tobacco around the world. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell.

The company's earnings grew to 20 cents a share in the second quarter of its fiscal 2008 compared with 10 cents per share in the same period a year earlier, continuing a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past year. This trend is likely to continue, and suggests that the performance of the business is improving. However, its revenue fell by 1.2% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, and its stock price has gone down by 33.93% in the last 12 months.

Investors have so far failed to pay attention to the earnings improvements the stock has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Despite the heavy decline, the stock is still more expensive (when compared with its current earnings) than most others in its industry. The company also carries a very high debt-to-equity ratio of 4.22, implying that there is very poor management of debt levels within the company. Alliance One had been rated a sell since November 2007.

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