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.
Harman International Industries
, an audio equipment maker, has been downgraded to hold after the collapse of a previously announced takeover agreement and the company's reduced guidance for 2008 earnings due to increased research and development costs. In September, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners backed out of an $8 billion acquisition deal, charging that materially adverse changes in Harman's business had occurred. On the plus side, the company's fiscal year fourth-quarter revenue grew 6.1% to $911.1 million and net income rose 62% to $104.9 million. The company has also launched several strategic initiatives that could boost revenue and profitability over the long-run. Harmon International had been rated a buy since October 2005.
Weingarten Realty Investors
, a real estate investment trust, has been upgraded to buy due to several factors, including growth in revenue and earnings per share, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. These strengths are expected to outweigh the company's subpar income growth. EPS has improved by 13.3% in the most recent quarter over a year ago. There has been a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past year and this is expected to continue. During the past fiscal year, revenue grew by 12.2%, but underperformed the industry average of 21.8%. Weingarten Realty Investors had been rated a hold since June.
( OXPS) has been upgraded to buy. The company holds a largely solid financial position with expanding profit margins and impressive growth in revenue, EPS and net income. These strengths are expected to outweigh the lackluster performance of its stock. In July, optionsXpress said second-quarter earnings increased nearly 29% to $23.2 million, or 37 cents a share. Revenue increased 25.5% to $59.4 million, though it underperformed in comparison to the industry average of 29.8%. The company has no debt to speak of, resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero. optionsXpress Holdings had been rated a hold since October 2006.
Omega Healthcare Investors
, a real estate investment trust, has been upgraded to buy. The company enjoys a largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels, robust revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. TheStreet.com Ratings believes these strengths outweigh the company's subpar growth in net income. Second-quarter revenue increased 18% over a year ago, but underperformed when compared with the industry average of 21.8%. Return on equity has improved slightly over a year ago. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.95, and is less than that of the industry average. Omega Healthcare Investors had been rated a hold since October 2005.
Dr. Reddy's Laboratories
, a pharmaceutical company, has been upgraded to buy. The company has seen compelling growth in net income and EPS, with expanding profit margins and an increase in stock price during the past year. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Dr. Reddy's recently reported that first-quarter net income rose 47.7% to $45 million, or 27 cents a share. Revenue slipped by about by 3.4% to $296 million. EPS increased 35%, part of a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, but TheStreet.com Ratings anticipates underperformance in this pattern in the coming year. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories had been rated a hold since October 2006.
Additional ratings changes are listed below: