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TSC Ratings' Updates: Devon Energy

TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.

The following ratings changes were generated on Wednesday, July 1.

We've upgraded Devon Energy (DVN) from sell to hold. Strengths include the company's solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have looked at. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

Revenue fell by 31.8% since the same quarter a year ago but outperformed the industry average. Earnings per shared declined steeply in the most recent quarter compared with the year-ago period, but the consensus estimate suggests that Devon's two-year trend of declining EPS should reverse in the coming year. Net operating cash flow fell 53.6% to about $1.05 billion compared with the year-ago quarter, underperforming the industry average, and net income fell to about -$3.96 billion from $749 million, underperforming the S&P 500 and the industry average.

Shares are down 54.7%, underperforming the S&P 500. The fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

We've downgraded Greenhill (GHL) from buy to hold. Strengths include the company's largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, premium valuation and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

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