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. Electrical parts manufacturer Deswell Industries ( DSWL) has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. TheStreet.com Ratings believes the company's 17.2% gross profit margin is rather low. It has decreased from the same quarter of the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 5.1% is lower than many of Deswell's peers. The company's 10.9% return on equity trails the industry average of 19.1%. DSWL had been rated a buy since February 2007. Elbit Medical Imaging ( EMITF) has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The Israeli company develops ultrasound equipment that uses magnetic resonance imaging. However, EMITF is also involved in other businesses including real estate development, women's fashion and venture-capital investments. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. Shares of Elbit are up 117.4% in the past year. EMITF had been rated a hold since July 2005.
Online insurance broker Insure.com ( NSUR) has been downgraded to a sell from a hold. The company lost 12 cents per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2007 after losing 4 cents per share a year earlier. Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased during that same time period. Insure.com has a negative return on equity that is well below the industry average. NSUR had been rated a hold since February 2007. Trailer Bridge ( TRBR) has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company is an integrated trucking and marine freight carrier, providing freight transportation between the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico. It earned 11 cents per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2007 after losing 15 cents per share in the first quarter of fiscal 2006. Revenues were up 6.2% during that same time period. Trailer Bridge's nearly 133% return on equity far exceeds the industry average of just 14%. TRBR had been rated a sell since June 2007. Retail Ventures ( RVI) has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company operates off-price department stores in the U.S., including Filene's Basement, Value City and DSW. RVI's 4.7% revenue growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2007 compared with the year earlier period outpaced the industry average of 1.5% during that time frame. This increase seems to have trickled down to the bottom line: the company swung to a profit of 5 cents per share in the latest quarter from a loss of $1.58 a share a year earlier. Retail Ventures had been rated a sell since March 2007.