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TSC Ratings' Updates: Terra Industries

The following ratings changes were generated on Tuesday, March 17.

We've initiated coverage of specialty hardwood flooring retailer Lumber Liquidators (LL - Get Report) at sell, driven by its feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Earnings per share improved significantly in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter last year, but we anticipate underperformance in the coming year relative to its yearlong pattern of positive EPS growth. Lumber Liquidators' 35.2% gross profit margin is strong, having increased from the year-ago quarter. The net profit margin of 5.6% is above the industry average. Net operating cash flow improved to $11.8 million, compared with no net operating cash flow in the year-ago quarter.

Shares have risen over the past year, outperforming the S&P 500 over the same period, but we feel that the risks involved in investing this stock do not compensate for any future upside potential.

We've initiated coverage on MSCI (MXB), which provides investment decision support tools, at sell, driven by premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared with such things as earnings and book value.

Net income fell 29.7% compared with the year-ago quarter, from $18.2 million to $12.8 million, greatly outperforming the diversified financial services industry average. The 1.5 debt-to-equity ratio is high but is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the industry. The 1.2 quick ratio is sturdy. The gross profit margin of 62.9% is rather high, though it decreased from the year-ago quarter.
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