TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Every trading day TheStreet Ratings' stock model reviews the investment ratings on around 4,700 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 59 U.S. common stocks for week ending March 23, 2012. 42 stocks were upgraded and 17 stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

Yongye International Inc ( YONG) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • YONG's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 95.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • YONG's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.06 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.10, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, YONGYE INTERNATIONAL INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • YONG's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 50.04%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, 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.
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Yongye International, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the research, development, manufacture, and sale of fulvic acid based liquid and powder nutrient compounds for plants and animals, which are used in the agriculture industry in the People's Republic of China. The company has a P/E ratio of 2.1, below the average chemicals industry P/E ratio of 2.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Yongye International has a market cap of $216.8 million and is part of the basic materials sector and chemicals industry. Shares are down 10% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #9

Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ltd ( BSI) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, unimpressive growth in net income, generally weak debt management and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ALON HOLDINGS BLUE SQUARE IS's earnings have gone downhill when comparing its most recently reported quarter with the same quarter a year earlier. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, ALON HOLDINGS BLUE SQUARE IS reported lower earnings of $0.25 versus $0.30 in the prior year.
  • 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 Food & Staples Retailing industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 11570.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.14 million to -$16.34 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 4.16 and currently higher than the industry average, implying that there is very poor management of debt levels within the company. To add to this, BSI has a quick ratio of 0.60, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for ALON HOLDINGS BLUE SQUARE IS is rather low; currently it is at 24.90%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -2.20% trails that of the industry average.
  • This stock's share value has moved by only 63.78% over the past year. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
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Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, operates supermarkets and retail outlets in Israel. The company has a P/E ratio of 3.9, below the average retail industry P/E ratio of 8.3 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel has a market cap of $267.5 million and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are down 3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #8

Vocus Inc ( VOCS) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Internet Software & Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2860.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$0.40 million to -$11.75 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, VOCUS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 46.71%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 3050.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, 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.
  • VOCUS INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VOCUS INC reported poor results of -$0.78 versus -$0.20 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.36 versus -$0.78).
  • The gross profit margin for VOCUS INC is currently very high, coming in at 84.50%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -38.50% is in-line with the industry average.
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Vocus, Inc. provides cloud marketing software that enables businesses attract, engage, and retain customers in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Morocco. It offers a suite of software for social media marketing, search marketing, email marketing, and publicity. Vocus has a market cap of $412 million and is part of the technology sector and internet industry. Shares are down 42.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Rating Change #7

Northfield Bancorp Inc ( NFBK) 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, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's earnings per share has not been good.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 26.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 99.94% to $10.23 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NORTHFIELD BANCORP INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -48.96%.
  • 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NORTHFIELD BANCORP INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has decreased by 0.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $3.83 million to $3.81 million.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that NFBK's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry, implying reduced upside potential.
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Northfield Bancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for Northfield Bank that provides banking services primarily to individuals and corporate customers in Richmond and Kings Counties in New York, and Union and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.5, below the average banking industry P/E ratio of 35.6 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Northfield has a market cap of $592.7 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 0.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Rating Change #6

Newmont Mining Corporation ( NEM) 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, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NEM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.5%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $922.00 million or 9.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NEWMONT MINING CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -52.92%.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.33, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that NEM's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.64, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, NEWMONT MINING CORP underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • In its most recent trading session, NEM 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.
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Newmont Mining Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the acquisition, exploration, and production of gold and copper properties. The company's assets or operations are located in the United States, Australia, Peru, Indonesia, Ghana, New Zealand, and Mexico. The company has a P/E ratio of 53.2, above the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 13.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Newmont has a market cap of $28.06 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are down 12.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #5

PerkinElmer Inc ( PKI) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PKI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.9%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 185.33% to $82.53 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PERKINELMER INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 28.30%.
  • The gross profit margin for PERKINELMER INC is rather high; currently it is at 53.70%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of -15.50% is in-line with the industry average.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.51, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.92 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
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PerkinElmer, Inc. provides technology, services, and solutions to the diagnostics, research, environmental, industrial, and laboratory services markets worldwide. The company operates in two segments, Human Health and Environmental Health. The company has a P/E ratio of 2730, above the average health services industry P/E ratio of 7.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. PerkinElmer has a market cap of $2.7 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 36.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #4

New Oriental Education & Technology Group I ( EDU) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 38.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • EDU 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. To add to this, EDU has a quick ratio of 2.40, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECH 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, NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECH increased its bottom line by earning $0.66 versus $0.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.89 versus $0.66).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Consumer Services industry. The net income increased by 80.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.84 million to $3.31 million.
  • The gross profit margin for NEW ORIENTAL ED & TECH is rather high; currently it is at 53.70%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 2.50% trails the industry average.
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New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. provides private educational services primarily in China. The company has a P/E ratio of 32.6, above the average diversified services industry P/E ratio of 27.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. New Oriental Education & Technology Group I has a market cap of $3.64 billion and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are up 17.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full New Oriental Education & Technology Group I Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #3

Nabors Industries Ltd ( NBR) 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, attractive valuation levels, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 31.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • NABORS INDUSTRIES 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD increased its bottom line by earning $1.16 versus $0.37 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.25 versus $1.16).
  • 37.30% is the gross profit margin for NABORS INDUSTRIES LTD which we consider to be strong. Regardless of NBR's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NBR's net profit margin of -6.10% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • NBR's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.82 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.17 is sturdy.
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Nabors Industries Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a land drilling contractor worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.8, above the average energy industry P/E ratio of 12.8 and equal to the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Nabors has a market cap of $4.99 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 20.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #2

United Microelectronics Corp ( UMC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • UMC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.12 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, UMC has a quick ratio of 1.55, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The gross profit margin for UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORP is currently very high, coming in at 80.40%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, UMC's net profit margin of 7.80% significantly trails the industry average.
  • UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORP has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, UNITED MICROELECTRONICS CORP reported lower earnings of $0.13 versus $0.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.14 versus $0.13).
  • UMC, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 25.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 62.5%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
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United Microelectronics Corporation operates as a semiconductor wafer foundry. The company provides wafer fabrication services and technologies to its customers based on their designs. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.9, below the average electronics industry P/E ratio of 42 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. United Microelectronics has a market cap of $6.54 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 21% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Rating Change #1

Honda Motor Co Ltd ( HMC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.90, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.84 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • HMC, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 6.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • HONDA MOTOR CO LTD's earnings per share declined by 44.3% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HONDA MOTOR CO LTD increased its bottom line by earning $3.56 versus $1.58 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 61.1% in earnings ($1.39 versus $3.56).
  • In its most recent trading session, HMC 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, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
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Honda Motor Co., Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the development, manufacture, and distribution of motorcycles, automobiles, and power products primarily in North America, Europe, and Asia. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.9, below the average automotive industry P/E ratio of 24.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Honda has a market cap of $62.4 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and automotive industry. Shares are up 25.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Honda 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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