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TheStreet Open House

Ashland, BP Prudhoe: Ratings Changes

Stocks in this article: ASHBPTCTAS

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 Ashland (ASH), a chemical and construction materials company, to "hold."

The numbers: Fiscal third-quarter net income dropped 31% to $50 million and earnings per share fell 34% to 68 cents, hurt by a higher share count. Revenue declined 7% to $2 billion. Its gross margin rose from 18% to 29% and its operating margin climbed from 3% to 8%. A quick ratio of 1.2 demonstrates adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.5 is below the industry average, indicating restrained leverage.

The stock: Ashland has surged 308% this year, handily beating major U.S. indices. The company succumbed to losses in its fourth-quarter and first-quarter. The shares pay a 0.7% dividend yield.

The model upgraded BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust (BPT), a trust with royalty interests in Alaskan oil fields, to "buy."

The numbers: Second-quarter net income fell 63% to $21 million, or 99 cents a share. Revenue declined a comparable amount. The trust's gross margin remained steady at 100% and its operating margin was little-changed at 99%. The trust holds no debt and $1 million of cash reserves, amounting to a quick ratio of 5.3.

The stock: BP Prudhoe Bay Royalty Trust is flat this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 8, a discount to the market and oil and gas peers. The shares pay a royalty yield of 9%. Royalties are taxed differently than dividends.

The model upgraded Cintas (CTAS), a manufacturer of corporate-identity uniforms and other items, to "buy."

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