Amcol, Exelon, Stratasys: Ratings Changes

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BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- TheStreet.com's stock-rating model upgraded specialty-minerals company Amcol ( ACO) to "buy."

The numbers: Third-quarter profit multiplied seven times to $13 million, or 43 cents a share, as revenue fell 25% to $191 million. Amcol's gross margin rose from 29% to 34%, but its operating margin was unchanged at 11%. A quick ratio of 1.9 indicates adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 0.6 is below the industry average, demonstrating restrained leverage.

The stock: Amcol is up 39% this year, beating major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 38, a premium to the market and diversified metal and mining peers. Shares pay a 2.5% dividend yield.

The model downgraded electric utility Exelon ( EXC) to "hold."

The numbers: Third-quarter profit rose 8% to $757 million, or $1.14 a share, as revenue fell 17% to $4.3 billion. Excelon's gross margin jumped from 35% to 44% and its operating margin increased from 27% to 32%. A quick ratio of 1 reflects adequate liquidity. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1 indicates higher-than-ideal leverage.

The stock: Exelon has dropped 13% this year, lagging behind major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 12, a discount to the market and utility peers. Shares pay a 4.3% dividend yield.

The model upgraded Maxwell Technologies ( MXWL), a maker of energy-storage and power-delivery products, to "hold."

The numbers: The company's second-quarter loss widened 7% to $5.3 million, but the loss per share decreased due to a higher share count. Revenue grew 30% to $25 million. Maxwell's gross margin rose from 33% to 42% and its operating margin climbed from negative 21% to negative 4%. The company has an admirable financial position, with $32 million of cash and $19 million of debt.

The stock: Maxwell Technologies has surged 302% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The company has posted losses for two consecutive quarters. The stock doesn't pay dividends.

The model upgraded regional bank Park National ( PRK) to "buy."

The numbers: The company swung to a third-quarter profit of $19 million, or $1.25 a share, from a loss of $38 million, or $2.75 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue declined 4% to $110 million. Park National's gross margin rose from 57% to 65%. The company is adequately capitalized, with $138 million of cash. A debt-to-equity ratio of 1.6 indicates higher-than-ideal leverage.

The stock: Park National is down 15% this year, underperforming major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 13, a discount to the market and regional banking peers. Shares pay a 6.1% dividend yield.

The model upgraded computer-hardware maker Stratasys ( SSYS) to "buy."

The numbers: Second-quarter profit fell 79% to $850,000, or 4 cents a share, as revenue decreased 21% to $25 million. The company's gross margin descended from 59% to 53% and its operating margin dropped from 19% to 6%. Stratasys has an ideal financial position, with $40 million of cash and no debt.

The stock: Stratasys is up 57% this year, outpacing major U.S. indices. The stock trades at a price-to-earnings ratio of 59, a premium to the market and computer hardware peers. The company doesn't pay dividends.

-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.

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