TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Every trading day TheStreet Ratings' stock model reviews the investment ratings on around 4,800 U.S. traded stocks for potential upgrades or downgrades based on the latest available financial results and trading activity.

TheStreet Ratings released rating changes on 122 U.S. common stocks for week ending August 26, 2011. 19 stocks were upgraded and 103 stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

Total ( TOT) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • TOT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 39.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 48.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • TOTAL SA has improved earnings per share by 16.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, TOTAL SA increased its bottom line by earning $6.27 versus $5.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.45 versus $6.27).
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TOTAL SA has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, TOT has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The gross profit margin for TOTAL SA is rather low; currently it is at 17.70%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.80% trails that of the industry average.

TOTAL S.A., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated oil and gas company worldwide. The company operates through three segments: Upstream, Downstream, and Chemicals. The Upstream segment engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 6.9 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Total has a market cap of $109.1 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 9.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Total Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #9

Suncor Energy Inc ( SU) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth significantly trails the industry average of 39.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although SU's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.29 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.87 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The gross profit margin for SUNCOR ENERGY INC is rather low; currently it is at 23.50%. Regardless of SU's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.90% trails the industry average.
  • SU has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 6.40% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

Suncor Energy Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an integrated energy company. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.3, equal to the average energy industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Suncor Energy has a market cap of $47.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 22.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Suncor Energy Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #8

Mobile TeleSystems ( MBT) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, generally poor debt management and weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MBT's revenue growth trails the industry average of 41.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.2%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • MOBILE TELESYSTEMS OJSC's earnings per share declined by 15.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MOBILE TELESYSTEMS OJSC increased its bottom line by earning $1.44 versus $1.08 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.76 versus $1.44).
  • The gross profit margin for MOBILE TELESYSTEMS OJSC is rather high; currently it is at 69.90%. Regardless of MBT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 11.00% trails the industry average.
  • Looking at the price performance of MBT's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 25.80%, and it has underformed the S&P 500 Index. In addition, the company's earnings per share are lower today than the year-earlier quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, MBT is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • Net operating cash flow has declined marginally to $908.04 million or 5.91% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

Mobile TeleSystems OJSC, together with its subsidiaries, provides telecommunications services primarily in the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, and Belarus. The company has a P/E ratio of 15.9, above the average telecommunications industry P/E ratio of 11.5 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Mobile TeleSystems has a market cap of $15.3 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are down 23.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Mobile TeleSystems Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #7

MetLife Inc ( MET) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MET's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 20.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 21.3%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • METLIFE INC's earnings per share declined by 39.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, METLIFE INC turned its bottom line around by earning $3.17 versus -$2.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.22 versus $3.17).
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Insurance industry and the overall market, METLIFE INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has decreased by 20.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1,557.00 million to $1,237.00 million.

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs primarily in the United States, Japan, Latin America, the Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. The company has a P/E ratio of 15, above the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 14.7 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. MetLife has a market cap of $33.4 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are down 26.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full MetLife Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #6

Aflac Inc ( AFL) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AFL's revenue growth trails the industry average of 20.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.2%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • AFL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.25 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,211.00 million or 26.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 26.70%, AFLAC INC is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 82.65%.
  • The gross profit margin for AFLAC INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 9.80%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 5.50% trails that of the industry average.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 52.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $581.00 million to $279.00 million.

Aflac Incorporated, through its subsidiary, American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus (Aflac), provides supplemental health and life insurance. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.6, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Aflac has a market cap of $17 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are down 37.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Aflac Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #5

AuRico Gold Inc ( AUQ) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AUQ's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 49.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 97.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AUQ's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.04 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, AUQ has a quick ratio of 1.55, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Metals & Mining industry. The net income increased by 113.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$180.29 million to $24.52 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 298.86% to $54.41 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AURICO GOLD INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 55.25%.
  • The gross profit margin for AURICO GOLD INC is currently very high, coming in at 70.80%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 21.70% trails the industry average.

AuRico Gold Inc. engages in the exploration, development, and production of gold and silver mines and projects in Mexico. The company was formerly known as Gammon Gold, Inc. and changed its name to AuRico Gold Inc. in June, 2011. The company has a P/E ratio of 30.3, above the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 27.7 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. AuRico has a market cap of $2.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are up 63.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full AuRico Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #4

Aspen Technology ( AZPN) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 37.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AZPN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.16 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.35, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.09 versus -$1.18 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 338.9% in earnings (-$0.22 versus $0.09).
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. In comparison to the other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $10.43 million or 28.50% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

Aspen Technology, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides integrated process optimization software solutions for manufacturers in process industries, and engineering and construction firms. Aspen Technology has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are up 9.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Aspen Technology Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #3

Great Basin Gold ( GBG) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally poor debt management.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GBG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 49.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 49.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • GREAT BASIN GOLD LTD reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, GREAT BASIN GOLD LTD continued to lose money by earning -$0.09 versus -$0.16 in the prior year.
  • 47.10% is the gross profit margin for GREAT BASIN GOLD LTD which we consider to be strong. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -1.90% is in-line with the industry average.
  • GBG has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 6.77% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.45, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Despite the fact that GBG's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.55 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.

Great Basin Gold Ltd. engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of precious metal deposits. It explores for gold, silver, and aggregate. Great Basin has a market cap of $981.2 million and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are down 34.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Great Basin Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #2

Dycom Industries Inc ( DY) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • DYCOM INDUSTRIES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, DYCOM INDUSTRIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.46 versus $0.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.75 versus $0.46).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Construction & Engineering industry. The net income increased by 179.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $4.64 million to $12.97 million.
  • DY's revenue growth trails the industry average of 18.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Despite the fact that DY's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.62 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 216.66% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 64.44% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.

Dycom Industries, Inc. provides specialty contracting services in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 60.9, below the average materials & construction industry P/E ratio of 64 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Dycom has a market cap of $435.4 million and is part of the industrial goods sector and materials & construction industry. Shares are down 6.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Dycom Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #1

E.W. Scripps Company ( SSP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SSP has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.79, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 88.66% to -$4.21 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, EW SCRIPPS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 31.63%.
  • EW SCRIPPS reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EW SCRIPPS turned its bottom line around by earning $0.26 versus -$3.75 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 151.9% in earnings (-$0.14 versus $0.26).
  • In its most recent trading session, SSP has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 102.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $99.51 million to -$2.21 million.

The E. W. Scripps Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a diverse media company with interests in television stations, newspapers, and local news and information Web sites. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.3, above the average media industry P/E ratio of 24.6 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. E.W. Scripps has a market cap of $425.9 million and is part of the services sector and media industry. Shares are down 30% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full E.W. Scripps Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Jupiter, Fla.

For additional Investment Research check out our Ratings Research Center.

For all other upgrades and downgrades made by TheStreet Ratings Model today check out our upgrades and downgrades list.

Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TheStreet Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering equity and mutual fund ratings. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

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