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TSC Ratings' Updates: U.S. Bancorp

The following ratings changes were generated on Monday, Nov. 10.

We've upgraded Amerigroup (AGP), which operates as a multistate managed healthcare company, from sell to hold. Strengths include its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and growth in earnings per share. Weaknesses include disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins.

Amerigroup's 8.8% revenue growth from the same quarter a year ago came in higher than the industry average of 3.6%, helping boost earnings per share. The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.38, is low and is below the industry average, implying successful management of debt levels. The company also maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.26, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.

Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$125.22 million, or 250.61% when compared with the same quarter last year. In addition, the firm's growth rate is much lower than the industry average. Return on equity has greatly decreased from the same quarter one year prior, a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Amerigroup's ROE significantly trails both the industry average and the S&P 500.

We've downgraded Hormel (HRL) from buy to hold. Strengths include its revenue growth, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. Weaknesses include unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

Hormel's 10.4% revenue growth since the same quarter a year ago trails the industry average of 34.1%, and EPS have declined. Return on equity has improved slightly, which can be construed as a modest strength in the organization, and it exceeds the industry average and the S&O 500. The comapny's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.21 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying very successful management of debt levels. Its quick ratio, however, of 0.78 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.

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