Cemex Sab ( CX), which engages in the production, distribution, marketing, and sale of cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and other construction materials, was downgraded to hold. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock.

The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, robust revenue growth and attractive valuation levels; however, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally poor debt management, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself. The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.11 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.47, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.

In its most recent quarterly report, net income rose to $570.37 million from $428.41 million, an increase of 33.1% year over year; however, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, Cemex has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Construction Materials industry average. While revenue rose by 25.9% in the same time frame, it underperformed the industry average of 32.2%. Gross profit margin for Cemex is lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.80% -- a decrease from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the weak results of the gross profit margin, net profit margin of 9.40% is above that of the industry average. Cemex had been rated a buy since March 22, 2007.

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