Each weekday, TheStreet.com Ratings updates its ratings on the stocks we cover. Our model projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period, including both price appreciation and dividends. Our buy, hold or sell ratings designate how we expect these stocks to perform against a general benchmark of the equities market and interest rates.

While our 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 forecasted company earnings. Objective elements include volatility of past operating revenue, financial strength and company cash flows.

Some recent rating changes are highlighted below.

Georgia-based banking firm GB&T Bancshares ( GBTB) has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's stock price has declined 14% over the past 12 months. TheStreet.com Ratings sees little in GB&T's numbers to suggest that the trend will be reversed in the coming year. The company had been rated a buy since March 2005.

TrustCo Bank ( TRST) has also been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company operates bank offices in New York, New Jersey, Vermont and Florida. TrustCo's revenue grew just 8.9% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Revenue throughout the industry grew by an average of 50.8% during that same period. The company's stock price slipped 21.5% over the past 12 months. TrustCo had been rated a buy since December 2006.

Real estate investment trust One Liberty Properties ( OLP) has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. Earnings growth appears to be pushing OLP's stock price upward. Although the company's stock has already gone up 22.9% in the past year, TheStreet.com Ratings feels there is more upside potential. One Liberty Properties had been rated a hold since August 2006.

Caracas-based telecom provider Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela ( VNT) has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. TheStreet.com Ratings feels that weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins are contributing to lackluster stock performance. The price per share has fallen 18.2% in the past year. VNT had been rated a buy since February 2007.

Specialized Health Products ( SHPI) has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company produces disposable medical products meant to minimize the risk of accidental needle-sticks. Revenue for this company grew 94% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 compared with the same quarter a year ago. The company has also improved its return on equity over the past fiscal year. TheStreet.com Ratings feels this is a sign of significant strength within the corporation. Specialized Health Products had been rated a sell since July 2005.

United Surgical Partners ( USPI) has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company owns and operates surgery centers in the U.S. and U.K. Although earnings per share, revenue and net income are all on the rise, these strengths have not led to an improvement in the performance of the company's stock. The price per share has declined 12.5% over the past year. USPI had been rated a buy since March 2007.

Petroleum company Double Eagle ( DBLE) has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's earnings per share declined 56.3% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 compared with the same quarter a year ago. Return on equity has also fallen during that same time period, which TheStreet.com Ratings feels is a significant sign of weakness for Double Eagle. The company had been rated a buy since December 2005.

TheStreet.com Ratings Stock Upgrades, Downgrades
Company Name Ticker Change New Rating Former Rating
United Surgical Partner USPI Downgrade Hold Buy
G B & T Bancshares GBTB Downgrade Hold Buy
TrustCo Bank Corp TRST Downgrade Hold Buy
Specialized Health Products SHPI Upgrade Hold Sell
One Liberty Properties OLP Upgrade Buy Hold
Double Eagle Petroleum DBLE Downgrade Hold Buy
CANTV-CA NAC Telefonos Venez VNT Downgrade Hold Buy
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings

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