TSC Ratings provides exclusive stock, ETF and mutual fund ratings and commentary based on award-winning, proprietary tools. Its "safety first" approach to investing aims to reduce risk while seeking solid outperformance on a total return basis.

The following ratings changes were generated on Wednesday, April 22.

We've upgraded financial services company Bank of New York ( BK) from hold to buy, driven by its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

The 0.7 debt-to-equity ratio is below the industry average, implying a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. The 90.9% gross profit margin has increased significantly from the same period last year. Revenue fell 32.3% since the year-ago quarter, and EPS also fell, though we anticipate the company's two-year pattern of declining EPS to reverse over the coming year. Net income fell 50.5% compared with the year-ago quarter, frin $746 million to $369 million.

We've downgraded financial services and products provider Comerica ( CMA) from hold to sell, driven by its decline in stock price during the past year, feeble growth in its earnings per share and disappointing return on equity.

EPS are down in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter last year, and we anticipate that the company's two-year trend of declining EPS should continue in the coming year. Return on equity has decreased from the year-ago quarter, implying weakness within the corporation. Net income fell 91.7% since the year-ago quarter, from $109 million to $9 million, and revenue is down 30.7%.

Shares have fallen 34.8% over the past year, in part reflecting the overall decline in the broad market. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.

We've downgraded Johnson Controls ( JCI), which operates in building efficiency, automotive experience and power solutions businesses, from hold to sell. This rating is driven by the company's feeble growth in its earnings per share, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

EPS are down in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter last year, and we anticipate the company's two-year trend of declining EPS to continue in the coming year. ROE has also decreased compared with the year-ago quarter, implying weakness within the corporation. The company's gross profit margin of 13.8% has decreased from the previous-year quarter. Net operating cash flow fell 64.1% to $107 million.

Shares are down 50.4% 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 Terex ( TEX), which designs, manufactures and markets capital equipment for the construction, infrastructure, quarrying, surface mining, shipping, transportation, power and energy industries, from hold to sell. This rating is driven by the company's deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Net income fell from $163.3 million in the year-ago quarter to -$74.9 million in the most recent quarter, and ROE also decreased. The 12.6% gross profit margin has decreased from the year-ago quarter, and the net profit margin or -5.8% trails the industry average. EPS declined in the most recent quarter compared with the year-ago quarter, though the consensus estimate suggests that the company's two-year trend of declining EPS should reverse in the coming year.

Shares are down 83.2% 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.

We've upgraded holding company Travelers ( TRV), which provides various commercial and personal property and casualty insurance products and services, from hold to buy. This rating is driven by the company's largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

The 0.2 debt-to-equity ratio is below the industry average, implying successful management of debt levels. Revenue fell 10.6% since the year-ago quarter, and EPS are down 17.7%, though we anticipate the company's two-year trend of declining EPS to reverse in the coming year. Net income fell 24.6% compared with the year-ago quarter, from $1.1 billion to $801 million, and ROE also decreased.

Other ratings changes include Mercadolibre ( MELI), upgraded from sell to hold, and Getty Realty ( GTY), upgraded from hold to buy.

All ratings changes from April 22 are listed below.

Ticker
Company
Current
Change
Previous
AIMM
AutoImmune
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
BK
Bank of New York
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD
CHLN
China Housing & Land
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
CMA
Comerica
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
CMHM
Conmed Healthcare Management
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
CPTS
Conceptus
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
CSL
Carlisle
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
EDU
New Oriental Education & Technology
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
FIF
Financial Federal
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD
GTY
Getty Realty
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD
HGIC
Harleysville Group
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD
ILMN
Illumina
HOLD
Downgrade
BUY
JCI
Johnson Controls
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
KPPC
Kapstone Paper & Packaging
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
LAB
LaBranche
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
MELI
Mercadolibre
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
MYMX
Mymetics
SELL
Initiated
NARA
Nara Bancorp
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
RBCN
Rubicon Technology
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
SDTH
ShengdaTech
HOLD
Upgrade
SELL
TEX
Terex
SELL
Downgrade
HOLD
TRV
Travelers
BUY
Upgrade
HOLD

Note: Our quantitative model makes stock recommendations based on GAAP figures that may differ materially from data as reported by the companies themselves. As a result, rating changes are occasionally driven by so-called nonrecurring items. As always, we urge readers to use TSC Ratings' reports in conjunction with additional information to construct their opinions on the value that should be placed on any given stock.

TheStreet.com Ratings, recently cited for Best Stock Selection from October 2007 through February 2009 , is an independent research provider that combines fundamental and technical analysis to offer investors tremendous value in volatile times. To see how your portfolio can use this research, click here now!

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