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Stock Upgrades, Downgrades From Ratings

Telecom Argentina S.A. (TEO - Get Report), through its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services in Argentina. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's third-quarter net income rose 237.1% to $70.04 million from $20.78 million in the same period last year. While its revenue rose by 17.1% over the same time frame, this trailed the industry average of 30.8%.

Telecom Argentina's return on equity greatly increased in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, a sign of significant strength within the corporation. Even though its debt-to-equity ratio is 1.38, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the diversified telecommunications services industry. Although its debt-to-equity ratio is mixed, the company's quick ratio of 0.68 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity. Telecom Argentina had been rated a buy since November 2007.

Smithfield Foods (SFD), together with its subsidiaries, produces and processes pork and beef. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's revenue rose by 23.5% in the second quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year, although the growth does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line. Earnings fell to 14 cents per share from 41 cents a share in the second quarter of 2007.

Even though the company has had weak EPS results, its stock has gone up by 12.7% in the last 12 months. Despite the rise over the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock. Smithfield Foods' other weaknesses include disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins. It had been rated a buy since December 2005.
This article was written by a staff member of Ratings.
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