Each business day, 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.

TheStreet.com Ratings has initiated coverage of Idearc ( IAR), which provides yellow- and white-page directories and related advertising products. It has been rated a sell. The company's third-quarter net income fell by 52.2% to $117 million from $245 million in the same period last year, as earnings fell to 80 cents per share from $1.68 a share in the third quarter of 2006.

Idearc's revenue fell by 1.74% over the same period. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results of its debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.13 is sturdy. The company's stock price has gone down by 37.06% in the last 12 months. These weaknesses will have a greater impact than any strengths and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared with most of the stocks covered by TheStreet.com Ratings.

The New York Times Company ( NYT) is a diversified media company that operates through three segments: news media, broadcast media and About.com. It has been downgraded to a sell from a hold. The company's return on equity significantly trails both the industry average and that of the S&P 500; this is a signal of major weakness within the corporation.

The New York Times' stock price has fallen by 28.96% in the last 12 months. In one sense, the stock's decline is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But because of other concerns, TheStreet.com Ratings feels the stock is not a good buy right now. The company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently, and third-quarter earnings improved to 10 cents a share from 6 cents in the same period a year ago. The New York Times Company had been rated a hold since December 2005.

Unisource Energy ( UNS) provides electricity and gas utility services through three segments: TEP, UNS Gas and UNS Electric. It has been upgraded to a buy from a hold. Although the company's third-quarter revenue increased by 7.7% compared with the same period last year, it trailed the industry average of 20.4%.

Net operating cash flow increased to $84.09 million or 16.26% when compared with the same period last year. However, its earnings fell 9.6% to 66 cents a share in the third quarter compared with 73 cents per share in the same period last year, continuing a pattern of somewhat volatile earnings of late. Unisource's stock price has gone down by 12.53% in the last 12 months, and despite its decline it is somewhat more expensive (in proportion to its earnings over the last year) than most other stocks in its industry. TheStreet.com Ratings feels that the company's other strengths offset this slight negative. Unisource had been rated a hold since May 2007.

TrustCo Bank Corp. ( TRST) operates as a holding company for TrustCo Bank, which provides personal and business banking services for individuals, partnerships and corporations. It has been upgraded to buy from hold.

The company's revenue growth of 14.7% in the third quarter compared with the same period last year outpaced the industry average of 1.3%. TrustCo's third-quarter income fell 4.8% to $10.64 million from $11.18 million in the same period last year, and its return on equity fell to 17.21% from 21.69% over the same time frame. Still, the company's strengths outweigh its somewhat weak growth in earnings per share. TrustCo had been rated a hold since February 2007.

StoneMor Partners ( STON) owns and operates cemeteries in the U.S. It has been downgraded to a hold from a buy. The company's third-quarter revenue grew by 31.5% when compared with the same period last year, exceeding the industry average of 1.0%. However, the company's earnings fell to zero from EPS of 13 cents a share in the third quarter last year. This continued a trend of declining earnings over the past year, but the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year.

StoneMor's share price is down by 11.09% in the last 12 months, and looking ahead, TheStreet.com Ratings does not see anything in the company's number that suggest that this trend will reverse itself. StoneMor had been rated a buy since September 2007.

Additional ratings changes are listed below.
Stock Upgrades, Downgrades
Company Name Ticker Change New Rating Former Rating
Aldila ALDA Downgrade Hold Buy
Innotrac INOC Upgrade Hold Sell
Metropolitan Health Networks MDF Downgrade Hold Buy
New York Times Company NYT Downgrade Sell Hold
Trustco Bank Corp TRST Upgrade Buy Hold
Unisource Energy UNS Upgrade Buy Hold
Widepoint WYY Upgrade Hold Sell
Aeterna Zentaris AEZS Downgrade Sell Hold
Community Central Bank CCBD Downgrade Sell Hold
Advanced Battery Tech GBT Downgrade Hold Buy
Stonemor Partners STON Downgrade Hold Buy
U.S. Shipping Partners USS Downgrade Sell Hold
Solitario Resources XPL Initiation Sell n/a
First Capital Bancorp FCVA Initiation Sell n/a
Vestin Realty Mortgage II VRTB Initiation Sell n/a
Idearc IAR Initiation Sell n/a
Source: TheStreet.com Ratings

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