The following ratings changes were generated on Friday, Feb. 20.

We've downgraded independent energy company Apache ( APA - Get Report) from buy to hold. Strengths include its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find a decline in the stock price during the past year, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Apache's 0.3 debt-to-equity ratio is very low but is still higher than the industry average. Its gross profit margin of 63.1% is rather high, though it has decreased from the same period last year. The net profit margin of -156.9% significantly underperformed the industry average. Return on equity has greatly decreased since the year-ago quarter, a signal of major weakness within the corporation and an underperformance of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Shares are down 38.5% over the past year, in part reflecting the decline of the broader market, and EPS are down 375.9%. But don't assume that the stock can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, Apache is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.

We've downgraded online travel company Expedia ( EXPE - Get Report) from hold to sell, driven by its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally weak debt management, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Net income decreased to -$2,760 million in the most recent quarter from $65.36 million in the year-ago quarter, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 and the internet and catalog retail industry. ROE also greatly decreased, a signal of major weakness. Expedia's debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low overall but high when compared with the industry average. The quick ratio is low and demonstrates weak liquidity. EPS have declined by 4,463.6% compared with the year-ago quarter, but the consensus estimate suggests that the company's two-year trend of declining EPS should reverse in the coming year.

Shares tumbled by 69.2% over the last year, underperforming the S&P 500. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor, and in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year 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 due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

We've downgraded steel mini-mill operator Gerdau Ameristeel ( GNA) from hold to sell, driven by its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and generally weak debt management.

EPS declined by 902.7% compared with the year-earlier quarter, continuing a two-year pattern of declining EPS for the company. Net income fell from $141.4 million in the year-ago period to -$1,284 million in the most-recent quarter, underperforming significantly the S&P 500 and the metals and mining industry. ROE also greatly decreased, a signal of major weakness. Gerdau's gross profit margin of 6.7% is extremely low, having decreased significantly from the year-ago quarter, and its net profit margin of -89.4% is significantly below the industry average.

Shares have tumbled by 62% over the past year, underperforming the S&P 500. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor, and in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year 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 due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

We've downgraded Swift Energy ( SFY), which engages in the development, exploration, acquisition and operation of oil and gas properties, from hold to sell, driven by its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Net income fell from -$80.1 million in the year-ago quarter to -$452.7 million in the most recent quarter, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 and the oil, gas and consumable fuels industry. ROE also greatly decreased, a signal of major weakness. Net operating cash flow fell 35% to $82.9 million, which is in line with the industry average cash flow growth rate. EPS declined 957.3% compared with the year-earlier quarter, but the consensus estimate suggests that the company's two-year trend of declining EPS should reverse in the coming year.

Shares have tumbled 75.2% over the past year, underperforming the S&P 500. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor, and in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year 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 due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.

Other ratings changes included Kite Realty Trust ( KRG - Get Report), downgraded from hold to sell; Hudson City Bancorp ( HCBK), downgraded from buy to hold; and Idacorp ( IDA - Get Report), also downgraded from buy to hold.

All ratings changes generated on Feb. 20 are listed below.

Ticker
Company
Current
Change
Previous
APA Apache
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
APAC APAC Costumer Services
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
CITP Comsys IT Partners
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
CKSW ClickSoftware Technologies
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD
CSPI CSP
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
EXPE Expedia
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
FRD Friedman Industries
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
GETI Gentek
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
GNA Gerdau & Ameristeel
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
GPI Group 1 Automotive
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
GTS Triple-S Management
SELL
Initiated
GWR Genesee & Wyoming
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
HCBK Hudson City Bancorp
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
IDA Idacorp
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
KNOL Knology
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
KRG Kite Realty Trust
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
PMC Pharmerica
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
PQ Petroquest Energy
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
PSA Public Storage
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
PSBC Pacific State Bancorp
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
RSCF Reflect Scientific
SELL
Initiated
SFY Swift Energy
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
TGX Theragenics
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
WSTG Wayside Technology Group
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY

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