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

We've downgraded Amedisys ( AMED), which provides home health and hospice services, from buy to hold. Strengths include the company's robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a decline in price during the past year.

Revenue leaped by 75.3% since the same quarter last year, outpacing the industry average of 6.4% growth and helping boost earnings per share, which rose significantly compared with the year-ago quarter. We feel the company's two-year trend of positive EPS growth should continue in the coming year, suggesting the improvement of business performance. The company's 0.6 deb-to-equity ratio is low and below the industry average, implying successful management of debt levels, but its 0.9 quick ratio is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems. ROE has improved slightly compared with the same quarter last year, which can be construed as a modest strength in the organization.

Shares tumbled 26.3% over the past year, but this decline was not as bad as the broader market's plunge during the same time frame. 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 upgraded Michigan-based energy company CMS Energy ( CMS) from hold to buy, driven by its revenue growth, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

Revenue rose by 10.2% since the same quarter last year, helping boost EPS, which improved significantly compared with the year-ago quarter. We feel that the company's two-year trend of positive EPS growth should continue in the coming year. Net income rose from -$124 million in the year-ago quarter to $64 million, significantly outperforming the S&P 500 and the multi-utilities industry. ROE also greatly increased, a signal of significant strength.

We've downgraded GenTek ( GETI), which manufactures industrial components and performance chemicals, from hold to sell. This rating is driven by the company's feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and decline in the stock price during the past year.

EPS declined by 818.6% in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter last year, continuing a two-year trend of declining EPS for the company. Net income fell from $18.8 million in the year-ago quarter to -$126 million in the most recent quarter, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 and the chemicals industry. GenTek's gross profit margin of 25.3% is lower than desirable, having decreased from the year-ago quarter, and its 90.6% net profit margin is significantly below the industry average. Net operating cash flow fell 5.7% to $25.7 million compared with the year-ago quarter.

Shares plunged 30.8% over the past year, and EPS sThe price performance for this stock has not been good. GETI's share price has plunged 30.83% over the past, though the performance of the broader market is even worse. Naturally, the overall market trend is boundto 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 NACCO Industries ( NC), which engages in lift trucks, housewares and mining business, from hold to sell. This rating is driven by the company's feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

EPS decline steeply in the most recent quarter compared with the year-ago quarter, and the company has reported a trend of declining EPS over the past two year. Net income fell from $51.7 million in the year-ago quarter to -$425.3 million in the most recent quarter. ROE also greatly decreased, a signal of major weakness within the corporation. NACCO's gross profit margin of 17.5% is rather low, having decreased from the year-ago quarter, and its net profit margin of -44.8% is significantly below the industry average. Net operating cash flow decreased 57.5% to $49.9 million compared with the same quarter last year.

We've initiated coverage on Thompson Creek Metals ( TC), which engages in the acquisition, exploration, development and operation of molybdenum properties, at sell. This rating is driven by the company's unimpressive growth in net income over time.

Net income decreased to -$24.6 million in the most recent quarter from $28.9 million in the year-ago quarter, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 and the metals and mining industry. Revenue dropped by 8.2%. EPS declined by 190.9% compared with the year-earlier quarter. Gross profit margin of 49.2% is strong, having increased significantly from the same period last year. Net profit margin of -13.5% is in line with the industry average.

Shares have tumbled 74% over the past year, underperforming the S&P 500.

Other ratings changes included Ellis Perry ( PERY), downgraded from hold to sell, and Shoe Carnival ( SCVL), also downgraded from hold to sell.

 
Ticker
Company
Current
Change
Previous
AMED
Amedisys
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
BR
Broadridge Financial Solutions
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
CEDU
ChinaEDU
HOLD
Initiated
CMS CMS Energy BUY Upgrade HOLD
CNC Centene HOLD Downgrade BUY
CRMZ CreditRiskMonitor.com HOLD Upgrade SELL
GB GreatBatch HOLD Downgrade BUY
GETI Gentek SELL Downgrade HOLD
GTIV Gentiva Health Services HOLD Downgrade BUY
ICXT ICX Technologies SELL Initiated  
NC Nacco Industries SELL Downgrade HOLD
PERY Ellis Perry SELL Downgrade HOLD
SCVL Shoe Carnival SELL Downgrade HOLD
TC Thompson Creek Metals SELL Initiated  
VASC Vascular Solutions HOLD Downgrade BUY
 

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.

However, the rating does not incorporate all of the factors that can alter a stock's performance. For example, it doesn't always factor in recent corporate or industry events that could affect the stock price, nor does it include recent technology developments and competitive dynamics that may affect the company.

For those reasons, we believe a rating alone cannot tell the whole story, and that it should be part of an investor's overall research.

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