BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- These small-cap stocks were upgraded by TheStreet's equity model. Each has a small Wall Street following and has outperformed the U.S. stock market in 2010.3. The model upgraded manufacturer and service provider Benchmark Electronics ( BHE) to "buy." Benchmark has appreciated 12% in 2010. Quarter: Benchmark swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $17 million, or 26 cents a share, from a loss of $204 million, or $3.13, a year earlier. Revenue ascended 3.2% to $600 million. The operating margin inched up from 3.1% to 3.5%. Benchmark holds $421 million of cash and $12 million of debt. Stock: Benchmark has soared 66% during the past year. The stock trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15, a price-to-book ratio of 1.3 and a price-to-sales ratio of 0.7, 29%, 46% and 72% discounts to peer-group averages. It's also cheap based on sales per share. Holders: No sell-side analysts cover Benchmark, which has a market value of $1.4 billion. During the fourth quarter, five of its 10 largest shareholders, including Bank of America ( BAC), decreased their holdings, while four, including State Street ( STT), amplified their bets. One top holder retained the size of its position. 2. The model upgraded Community Trust Bancorp ( CTBI), focused on Kentucky and West Virginia, to "buy." Community Trust Bancorp has rallied 20% in 2010. Quarter: Fourth-quarter profit expanded 7.3% to $7 million, or 46 cents, as revenue climbed 4.9%. The operating margin extended from 30% to 38%. Community Trust Bancorp holds $142 million of cash and $275 million of debt, translating to a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.9. Stock: Community Trust has declined 0.2% during the past year, underperforming benchmarks. It sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 15 and a price-to-cash-flow ratio of 12, 19% and 18% discounts to peer-group averages. It's fairly valued based on book value. Consensus: Of analysts covering Community Trust, two advise purchasing its shares and two recommend holding them. Sandler O'Neill expects the stock to advance 6% to $31. Hilliard Lyons believes it was fully valued at $28. The stock pays a 4.1% dividend yield.
1. The model upgraded Nortel Inversora ( NTL), a telecommunications company in Argentina and Paraguay, to "buy." Nortel Inversora has soared 43% in 2010.Quarter: Nortel Inversora posted a fourth-quarter profit of $57 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with $5.5 million, or 1 cent, a year earlier. Revenue soared 56%. The full-year 2009 operating margin stretched from 19% to 23%. Nortel Inversora has $335 million of cash and $216 million of debt. Stock: Nortel Inversora has more than quintupled during the past year, trouncing major benchmarks. The stock trades at a price-to-sales ratio of 0.7, a 41% discount to the industry average. It's fairly valued based on trailing earnings and expensive when considering book value per share. Holders: No sell-side firms cover Nortel Inversora, but eight of the company's 10 largest shareholders increased their bets during the fourth quarter and two retained their positions. JPMorgan ( JPM) owns 12% of the company and Renaissance Technologies, a quantitative hedge fund, owns 1.5%. Visit Stockpickr's Ratings Upgrades Portfolio and Ratings Downgrades Portfolio -- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.