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TSC Ratings' Updates: Morgan Stanley

The following ratings changes were generated on Wednesday, Jan. 21.

We've upgraded pharmaceutical services company AmerisourceBergen (ABC) from hold to buy, driven by its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Revenue increased by 5.3% since the year-ago quarter, and EPS improved by 17.7%. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, and we feel that this trend should continue. Net income grew by 31.2% compared with the year-ago quarter, from $87.6 million to $114.9 million. Net operating cash flow increased by 303% to $514.1 million. The company has a low debit-to-equity ratio of 0.4, which is below the industry average, implying successful management of debt levels, but its 0.5 quick ratio displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.

We've upgraded CNX Gas (CXG), which engages in the exploration, development, and production of natural gas, from hold to buy, driven by its robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Revenue leaped by 99% since the year-ago quarter, and net income grew by 115.4% to $67.4 million. Net operating cash flow increased by 70.5% to $120.1 million. CNX's gross profit margin of 69.1% is rather high, though it has decreased from the same period last year. Its net profit margin of 31.1% significantly outperformed the industry average. CNX's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.1 is low and below the industry average, implying very successful management of debt levels, but its 0.4 quick ratio is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

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