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Hi-Tech Pharmacal, Contango Oil: Ratings Changes

TheStreet.com 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 total return performance.

BOSTON (TheStreet) -- TheStreet.com's stock-rating model upgraded Hi-Tech Pharmacal (HITK), maker of generic and over-the-counter health care products, to "buy."

The numbers: Fiscal first-quarter net income surged 478% to $8.7 million and earnings per share climbed 461% to 73 cents. Revenue grew 178% to $44 million. Its gross margin rose from 43% to 64% and its operating margin climbed from negative territory to 29%. A quick ratio of 2.4 reflects ample liquidity. The company holds minimal debt.

The stock: Hi-Tech Pharmacal has surged 250% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, a discount to the market and pharmaceutical peers. The company does not pay dividends.

The model downgraded Contango Oil & Gas (MCF) to "hold."

The numbers: Fiscal fourth-quarter net income dropped 80% to $5.2 million and earnings per share fell 79% to 32 cents, cushioned by a lower share count. Revenue fell 48% to $36 million. Its gross margin declined from 93% to 75% and its operating margin dropped from 79% to 24%. A quick ratio of 1.8 indicates strong liquidity. The company holds minimal debt.

The stock: Contango Oil & Gas is down 12% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15, a discount to the market and oil and gas exploration peers.

The model upgraded hotel and movie theatre operator Marcus (MCS) to "buy."

The numbers: Fiscal first-quarter net income decreased 18% to $10 million, or 34 cents a share, as revenue declined 9% to $110 million. Its gross margin dropped from 40% to 30% and its operating margin fell from 20% to 17%. Just $8 million of cash and a quick ratio of 0.3 indicate weak liquidity. But a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.7 indicates reasonable leverage.

The stock: Marcus has fallen 16% this year, trailing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 24, a premium to the market and hotel and resort peers. Shares pay a 2.5% dividend yield.

The model upgraded semiconductor manufacturer MIPS Technologies (MIPS) to "hold."

The numbers: Fiscal fourth-quarter net loss declined to $6 million from a $109 million loss in the year-earlier period. On a per share basis, the company posted a 6 cent profit, compared to a 3 cent loss in the prior year's quarter. Its gross and operating margins dropped from 24% to 2%. A quick ratio of 2.6 demonstrates impressive liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 indicates conservative leverage.

The stock: MIPS Technologies has surged 235% this year, beating major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 15, a discount to the market and semiconductor peers. The company does not pay dividends.

The model upgraded conglomerate Standex (SXI) to "hold."

The numbers: Fiscal fourth-quarter net income grew 5% to $5.7 million, but earnings per share remained flat at 46 cents. Revenue fell 23% to $140 million. Its gross margin remained steady at 32%, but its operating margin climbed from 6% to 7%. A quick ratio of 0.9 indicates less-than-ideal liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 is below the industry average, demonstrating restrained leverage.

The stock: Standex has risen 1% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The company posted a loss of $1.48 a share in its fiscal third-quarter, breaking a streak of profitability. Shares pay a 1% dividend yield.

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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