TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Every trading day TheStreet Ratings' stock model reviews the investment ratings on around 4,600 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 83 U.S. common stocks for week ending November 2, 2012. 45 stocks were upgraded and 38 stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

EZCorp Inc ( EZPW) 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 a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EZPW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • EZPW's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.26 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 2.66, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Consumer Finance industry average. The net income increased by 7.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $26.53 million to $28.52 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $12.42 million or 66.51% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow EZCORP INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -95.76%.
  • EZPW has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 24.19% from its price level of one year ago. 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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EZCORP, Inc. provides specialty consumer financial services. The company has a P/E ratio of 7.1, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. EZCorp has a market cap of $948.1 million and is part of the services sector and specialty retail industry. Shares are down 25.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #9

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc ( SPR) 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, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.9%. 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 55.37% to $102.70 million when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 34.34%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.60, 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.
  • SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS 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. Earnings per share have declined over the last two years. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SPIRIT AEROSYSTEMS HOLDINGS reported lower earnings of $1.34 versus $1.56 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 98.5% in earnings ($0.02 versus $1.34).
  • 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 Aerospace & Defense industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 299.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $67.30 million to -$134.40 million.
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Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, designs and manufactures commercial aerostructures in the United States and internationally. It operates in three segments: Fuselage Systems, Propulsion Systems, and Wing Systems. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Spirit AeroSystems has a market cap of $1.87 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector and aerospace/defense industry. Shares are down 24.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #8

Cirrus Logic Inc ( CRUS) 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 increase in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including premium valuation and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • CRUS's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 90.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • CRUS 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, CRUS has a quick ratio of 1.90, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • CIRRUS LOGIC INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, CIRRUS LOGIC INC reported lower earnings of $1.30 versus $2.81 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.45 versus $1.30).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$48.23 million or 282.35% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
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Cirrus Logic, Inc., a fabless semiconductor company, develops signal processing integrated circuits (ICs) for audio and energy markets. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Cirrus Logic has a market cap of $2.63 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 128% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #7

Essex Property Trust ( ESS) 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, compelling growth in net income and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ESS's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 16.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry. The net income increased by 94.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $9.06 million to $17.59 million.
  • ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past two years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST reported lower earnings of $1.00 versus $1.14 in the prior year.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) industry and the overall market, ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for ESSEX PROPERTY TRUST is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 34.20%. Regardless of ESS'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 12.20% trails the industry average.
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Essex Property Trust, Inc. operates as a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust in the United States. It engages in the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, development, and redevelopment of apartment communities, as well as commercial properties. The company has a P/E ratio of 72.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Essex Property has a market cap of $5.46 billion and is part of the financial sector and real estate industry. Shares are up 6.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #6

Equinix Inc ( EQIX) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. 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 and robust revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • EQUINIX 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. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, EQUINIX INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.72 versus $0.83 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.65 versus $1.72).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Internet Software & Services industry. The net income increased by 41.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $20.32 million to $28.84 million.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 185.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 97.37% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $102.15 million or 27.99% 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.32 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, EQIX maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.96, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems.
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Equinix, Inc. provides data center services to protect and connect the information assets for the enterprises, financial services companies, and content and network providers primarily in the Americas, Europe, the Middle-East, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific. The company has a P/E ratio of 91.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Equinix has a market cap of $8.7 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are up 78.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #5

Exterran Holdings Inc ( EXH) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income and revenue growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's profit margins have been poor overall.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 101.16% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 132.02% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Energy Equipment & Services industry. The net income increased by 152.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$215.97 million to $113.37 million.
  • EXH's revenue growth trails the industry average of 19.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • EXTERRAN HOLDINGS INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, EXTERRAN HOLDINGS INC reported poor results of -$5.28 versus -$2.37 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$1.07 versus -$5.28).
  • The gross profit margin for EXTERRAN HOLDINGS INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 29.30%. Regardless of EXH's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, EXH's net profit margin of 15.80% compares favorably to the industry average.
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Exterran Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides operations, maintenance, service, and equipment for oil and natural gas production, processing, and transportation applications. The company has a P/E ratio of -3.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Exterran has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 134.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #4

Itron Inc ( ITRI) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components industry. The net income increased by 106.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$517.08 million to $35.35 million.
  • 37.20% is the gross profit margin for ITRON INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.00% is above that of the industry average.
  • ITRON INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, ITRON INC swung to a loss, reporting -$12.55 versus $2.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.80 versus -$12.55).
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $44.61 million or 32.51% 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.
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Itron, Inc. provides metering solutions, meter data management software, and knowledge application solutions to electric, natural gas, and water utilities worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of -3.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Itron has a market cap of $1.62 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 14.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #3

Ocwen Financial Corporation ( OCN) 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • OCN's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 5.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 93.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 94.73% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 152.12% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, OCN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • OCWEN FINANCIAL CORP 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, OCWEN FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.73 versus $0.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.50 versus $0.73).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry. The net income increased by 154.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $20.23 million to $51.40 million.
  • 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, OCWEN FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
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Ocwen Financial Corporation, through its subsidiaries, provides residential and commercial mortgage loan servicing, special servicing, and asset management services in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 52.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Ocwen Financial has a market cap of $5.21 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 166.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #2

Hartford Financial Services Group ( HIG) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 44.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.31, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. 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.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 568.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $60.00 million to $401.00 million.
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The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, provides insurance and financial services primarily in the United States and Japan. The company has a P/E ratio of 120.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Hartford Financial Services Group has a market cap of $9.46 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 33.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Hartford Financial Services Group Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

Rating Change #1

BP PLC ( BP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, 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 somewhat disappointing return on equity.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 7.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $5,043.00 million to $5,434.00 million.
  • BP PLC has improved earnings per share by 7.6% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BP PLC turned its bottom line around by earning $8.06 versus -$1.24 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 33.6% in earnings ($5.35 versus $8.06).
  • BP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.73 is weak.
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BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. BP has a market cap of $136.06 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 0.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Palm Beach Gardens, 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.

Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.
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.