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 both 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.
E. W. Scripps
has been downgraded to hold. While the company's net income growth has been compelling, profit margins have been weak, EPS growth has been feeble and the stock's performance has been generally disappointing. E.W. Scripps recently reported that second-quarter earnings increased 37% to $97.5 million, or 59 cents a share, but the company missed analysts' expectations due to disappointing TV and newspaper advertising revenue. The company also warned that third-quarter profit will miss Wall Street's forecast. E.W. Scripps had been rated a buy since September 2006.
, which operates an Internet-based global electronic marketplace, has been upgraded to hold. The company has seen impressive growth in revenue, EPS and net income, but the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level that is now relatively expensive compared with the rest of its industry. Last month, ICE said earnings jumped 73% to $53.7 million, or 75 cents a share. Revenue surged 86% to $136.7 million, driven by strong volume during the quarter at ICE Futures, the company's U.K. futures business segment; at NYBOT, ICE's U.S. futures business segment; and in its global over-the-counter business segment, as well as growth in the market data business segment. ICE had been rated a sell since December 2006.
, a biopharmaceutical company, has been upgraded to buy. The company has enjoyed growth in revenue, EPS and net income, with a notable return on equity and a solid stock price performance. These strengths are expected to outweigh Cubist's generally poor debt management. In July the company beat Wall Street's second-quarter expectations as earnings nearly tripled to $14.5 million, or 24 cents a share, significantly exceeding that of the biotechnology industry. Revenue increased 46% on strong sales of Cubicin, its skin infection treatment, which climbed 52% to $69.5 million. Cubist Pharmaceuticals had been rated a hold since October 2006.
, a lumber and paper company, has been downgraded to hold. The company has a largely solid financial position, notable return on equity and its stock price has increased over the past year. However, profit margins have been poor, and growth in EPS and net income has been weak. Earlier this month, the company said second-quarter earnings plummeted 89% to $32 million, or 15 cents a share, due to one-time charges and weakness in the housing market. Sales dropped 11% to $4.33 billion. Excluding the one-time charges, the company beat Wall Street's expectations. Weyerhaeuser had been rated a buy since January.
Sunoco Logistics Partners
has been upgraded to buy. The company enjoys a largely firm financial position, with revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity and a solid stock price performance. These strengths are expected to outweigh sub par growth in net income. Sunoco Logistics Partners recently reported that second-quarter earnings increased 19% to $509 million, or $4.20 a share. Revenue totaled $10.76 billion, up from $10.59 billion a year ago. Results were largely driven by earnings in refining and supply, while lower-than-normal refined product inventories and continued demand led to strong realized margins in the Northeast and MidContinent systems. Nonrefining business unit earnings totaled $59 million, largely from retail marketing as retail gasoline margins improved in the latter half of the quarter. Sunoco Logistics Partners had been rated a hold since earlier this month.
Additional ratings changes are listed below.