Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings updates its ratings on the stocks it covers. The proprietary ratings model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period, including price appreciation and dividends. Buy, hold or sell ratings designate how the Ratings group expects these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.
While the ratings model is quantitative, it uses both subjective and objective elements. For instance, subjective elements include expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and company earnings forecasts. Objective elements include volatility of past operating revenue, financial strength and company cash flows.
Telecomunic Sao Paulo
( TSP), which provides fixed-line local and long-distance telephone services in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's return on equity improved 26.2% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period in 2006, which can be construed as a sign of strength in the organization. Its stock price increased 38.7%, exceeding that of the
, and should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already seen a large gain in the past year. Telecomunic Sao Paulo had been rated a hold since December 2005.
Chicken products company
has also been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's revenue rose by 50.8% in the second quarter of 2007 compard with the year-earlier period, exceeding the industry average of 17.5%. Its debt-to-equity ratio of 0.39 is lower than that of its industry, implying the company has successful managed its debt levels. Additionally, net operating cash flow increased 249.8% in the most recent quarter. Sanderson Farms had been rated a hold since March 2006.
Real estate investment trust
has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. Its gross profit margin decreased 27.9% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same quarter the previous year, and its net profit margin of 9.9% trails the industry average. Net operating cash flow decreased 25.1% during the quarter, while its revenue growth of 25.3% slightly outpaced the industry average. The revenue growth does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, as seen in a 41.7% decline in EPS for the quarter. Mack-Cali had been rated a buy since June 2005.
( IQW), which provides various print services to retailers and publishers, has been downgraded to a sell from a hold. The company swung to a loss of $38.1 million in the first quarter of 2007 compared with a gain of $5.2 million in the year-earlier period. Its debt-to-equity ratio of 1.07 is higher than the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Quebecor had been rated a hold since February 2007.
Multibank holding company
has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. Its net income decreased 11.5% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the year-earlier period. Revenue also increased 11.5%, trailing the industry average of 23.7% and does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, as evidenced by an EPS decline of 11.8%. As a result of these weaknesses, Park National's stock has declined 7.7% from its price level of one year ago, and it could be down again in the next 12 months. Park National had been rated a buy since June 2005.
Additional ratings changes are listed below.