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.

Crystallex International ( KRY) engages in the exploration, development, mining, production and processing of gold, primarily in Venezuela. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. Despite an increase in cash flow of 1.65% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period a year ago, the company is growing at a slower rate than the industry average of 261.8%. Net income decreased 17.6% in the same quarter compared with the same period in 2006, dropping to $6.7 million from $8.2 million.

Although the company's stock price has increased 42.3%, TheStreet.com Ratings team does not recommend additional investment at this time. Crystallex had been rated a sell since June 2005.

Taser International ( TASR), which develops and manufactures the eponymous electronic control devices used in law enforcement, corrections facilities, private security and personal defense, has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company's revenue rose by 10.1% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the year-earlier period. However, this growth does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, as evidenced by its stagnant EPS.

Taser's debt-to-equity ratio is 0.00, implying successful management of debt levels. Its return on equity of negative 4.4% in the first quarter of 2007 is lower compared with the same period last year, a sign of weakness within the company. This return on equity also significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. Taser had been rated a sell since April 2007.

New York & Co. ( NWY) operates retail stores offering women's casual and wear-to-work apparel and accessories. It has been downgraded to a sell from a hold. The company's EPS declined by 90% in the first quarter of 2007 over the year-earlier period, continuing a year-long trend of declining EPS. NWY's net income decreased 86.8% during the same period, falling to $800,000 from $6.1 million.

Its return on equity was also lower on the year at 16.8%, underperforming the industry average, but exceeding the S&P 500. New York & Co. had been rated a hold since December 2006.

Freightcar America ( RAIL) manufactures, services and distributes freight cars used to haul coal, steel, forest products and automobiles. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in several areas, including its revenue growth, largely solid financial position and notable return on equity of 64.7% in the first quarter of 2007. However, the company's gross profit margin of 14.0% in the same quarter was down on the year, and its net profit margin of 7.1% trails that of the industry average. Freightcar America had been rated a buy since April 2007.

PICO Holdings ( PICO) owns land and the related mineral and water rights in Nevada. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company has a largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and its stock price appreciation is 45.8% over the past year.

PICO's revenue decreased 57.2% in the first quarter of 2007 compared with the same period last year, resulting in a decline in EPS of 95.5% during the same period. Return on equity decreased to 4.4% in the latest quarter from 10.1% a year earlier, which is a clear sign of weakness within the company. PICO's return on equity trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. PICO had been rated a buy since November 2006.

Additional ratings changes are listed below.

TheStreet.com Ratings Stock Upgrades, Downgrades
Company Name Ticker Change New Rating Former Rating
Micrus Endovascular MEND Upgrade Hold Sell
EV3 EVVV Upgrade Hold Sell
Atlas America ATLS Downgrade Hold Buy
Cabelas CAB Upgrade Buy Hold
Neogenomics NGNM Downgrade Sell Hold
Virage Logic VIRL Downgrade Sell Hold
Wendy's International WEN Downgrade Sell Hold
QAD QADI Upgrade Buy Hold
PHI PHII Downgrade Hold Buy
Lennar LEN Downgrade Hold Buy
Loud Technologies LTEC Downgrade Sell Hold
D&E Communications DECC Downgrade Hold Buy
Ampco- Pittsburgh AP Downgrade Hold Buy
Avocent AVCT Downgrade Hold Buy
Cagle's CGL.A Downgrade Sell Hold
Carnival CCL Downgrade Hold Buy
Clayton Williams Energy CWEI Downgrade Sell Hold
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings

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