Publish date:

Stock Upgrades, Downgrades From TheStreet.com Ratings

Canadian Imperial Bank, Credit Suisse and Gold Fields upgraded; Boyd's Gaming downgraded; coverage initiated on Lafarge.

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.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

(CM) - Get Report

provides various financial products and services to corporate, government and institutional clients. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company improved its EPS by 24.2% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, continuing a two-year pattern of EPS growth.

Earnings success has helped its stock price increase by 25.28% in the past 12 months, though the hold rating indicates that TheStreet.com Ratings do not recommend additional investment at this time. As a counter to these strengths, the company's overall profit margins have been poor overall. Canadian Imperial Bank had been rated a sell since coverage was initiated in October 2005.

Financial services company

Credit Suisse

(CS) - Get Report

operates through three segments: investment banking, private banking and asset management. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The stock price has risen by 15.66% in the last year, driven by its earnings growth, which has improved steadily over the past two years. EPS grew by 58.04% in the second quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year. Net operating cash flow increased by 259.46% to $13.24 billion in the quarter.

As a counter to these strengths, the firm's debt-to-equity ratio of 14.77 is higher than the industry average, implying very poor management of debt levels within the company. Credit Suisse had been rated a sell since June 2007.

Gold producer and major holder of gold reserves in South Africa, Ghana and Australia

Gold Fields

TST Recommends

(GFI) - Get Report

has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company shows a largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. It also displays expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. Its debt-to-equity ratio of 0.19 is beneath that of the industry average, implying very successful debt management.

However, the company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently, including an EPS decline of 42.1% in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year compared with the same period last year. Partially as a result of the earnings struggles, the company's stock price has declined by 16.13% in the last year. Gold Fields had been rated a hold since May 2007.

Boyd Gaming

(BYD) - Get Report

owns and operates 16 casino facilities in Nevada, Mississippi, Illinois, Louisiana and Indiana. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. Its net operating cash flow decreased 34.93% to $31.14 million in the second quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, and its growth rate is much lower than the industry average. The company's return on equity slightly decreased in the same timeframe, and is below that of both the industry average and the

S&P 500

.

Boyd has reported somewhat volatile earnings lately, though EPS increased 100% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, to 26 cents per share from 13 cents per share in the second quarter of 2006. Its stock has increased by 16.65% in the past 12 months. Boyd Gaming had been rated a buy since October 2006.

Finally, TheStreet.com Ratings has initiated coverage of construction materials company

Lafarge S.A.

(LR)

. It has been rated a hold. The stock has risen risen 15.27% over the past year, reflecting both the market's overall trend and the fact that the company's earnings have been robust. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, including growth of 27.6% in the second quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year.

However, while its debt-to-equity ratio of 0.93 is somewhat low overall, it is high when compared with the industry average. Regardless of the somewhat mixed debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.10 is sturdy.