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.

Celestica ( CLS) provides electronic manufacturing services and solutions to original equipment manufacturers in the communications, computing, industrial and consumer sectors in Asia, the Americas and Europe. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell.

The company's net income swung to a profit of $51.5 million in the third quarter from a loss of $42.1 million in the same period last year. Celestica's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35 is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.

However, the company's gross profit margin is low, at 7.30%. Its stock price has dropped 43.02% in the last 12 months, as investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the EPS improvements over the last quarter. While the stock is now cheaper (in proportion to earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry, due to other concerns, TheStreet.com Ratings feels the stock is still not a good buy right now. Celestica had been rated a sell since October 2005.

Operating through five segments, The Thomson Corporation ( TOC) provides information and services to business and professional customers. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's revenue grew by 11% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, outpacing the industry average of 8.3%. Thomson's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28 is below that of the industry average, implying that there has been successful debt management. Its stock price has increased by 9.88% over the past 12 months, and while any stock can fall in an overall down market, it still has good upside potential.

The company's earnings increased to 50 cents a share in the third period compared with 32 cents a share for the same period last year. Stable earnings over the past year indicate that the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. Thomson had been rated a hold since September 2007, prior to which it had been rated a buy since October 2005.

GATX Corporation ( GMT) leases, operates and invests in assets in rail, marine and industrial equipment in North America and Europe. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's revenue grew by 11.9% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year, outpacing the industry average of 10.4%. GATX has demonstrated a pattern of EPS growth over the past year, and third-quarter earnings increased to $1.21 per share from 76 cents a share.

Net income swung to a profit of $85.60 million in the quarter from a loss of $10.60 million in the third quarter of 2006. The company is also attractively valued and its profit margins are expanding. These strengths outweigh the lackluster performance of its stock, which has fallen by 11.68% in the last 12 months. GATX had been rated a hold since September 2007.

DRS Technologies ( DRS) provides defense electronic products, systems and military support services. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. The company's revenue rose by 16.7% in the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same period last year, exceeding the industry average of 8.7%. It also shows good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity.

DRS' stock price has increased by 26.72% in the last 12 months, and while it is now relatively expensive compared with the rest of its industry, the other strengths this company shows justify the higher price levels. These strengths also outweigh a decline in the company's earnings per share. DRS had been rated a hold since August 2007.

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing ( CHRT) makes wafer fabrication technology for semiconductor suppliers and systems companies in North America, Europe and Asia. It has been upgraded to a hold from a sell. The company's net income increased 369.7% to $114.76 million in the third quarter compared with the same period last year. Chartered Semiconductor's debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low overall, but is high when compared to the industry average. Earnings increased to 40 cents per share in the third quarter compared with 8 cents a share in the same period last year.

However, the company has shown a weak operating cash flow, and its stock price has decreased by 3.95% in the last 12 months. This depressed price could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. However, right now TheStreet.com Ratings believes it is too soon to buy. Chartered Semiconductor had been rated a sell since August 2007.

Earlier this week, TheStreet.com Ratings upgraded United Rentals ( URI) to a buy from a hold. The rating change was based almost entirely on the stock's recent price action. Since this price action was in turn driven by the company's buyout by Cerberus, TheStreet.com Ratings has moved it back to hold. This indicates that the potential upside for its stock price is less than 10%.

Additional ratings changes are listed below.



Stock Upgrades, Downgrades
Ticker Company Name Change New Rating Former Rating
ASIA Asiainfo Holdings Upgrade Buy Hold
CFK CE Franklin Upgrade Buy Hold
CLS Celestica Upgrade Hold Sell
CHRT Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Upgrade Hold Sell
DRS DRS Technologies Upgrade Buy Hold
GMT GATX Upgrade Buy Hold
LSCC Lattice Semiconductor Downgrade Sell Hold
LYO Lyondell Chemical Upgrade Buy Hold
OMEF Omega Financial Upgrade Buy Hold
ORCC Online Resources Downgrade Hold Buy
PTIX Performance Technologies Upgrade Hold Sell
EFJI EFJ Downgrade Sell Hold
URI United Rentals Downgrade Hold Buy
TOC Thomson Corp Upgrade Buy Hold
AEA Advance America Cash Advance Downgrade Sell Hold
CLMT Calumet Specialty Products Upgrade Hold Sell
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings