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.

Empresas ICA ( ICA) provides construction services to public and private sector clients in Mexico. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's revenue increased 9.2% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, outpacing the industry average of 7.0%. Net income grew 34% to $10.56 million over the same timeframe, outperforming both the industry average and the S&P 500. Powered in part by strong earnings growth, Empresas' stock price has improved by 66.93% over the past 12 months. Given the company's strengths, the higher price level is justified. Its somewhat disappointing return on equity is not a threat to the buy rating at this time. Empresas had been rated a hold since September 2007.

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