TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

NEW YORK ( TheStreet Ratings) -- Every trading day TheStreet Ratings' stock model reviews the investment ratings on around 4,300 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 34 U.S. common stocks for week ending January 11, 2013. 30 stocks were upgraded and four stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

Inergy L.P. ( NRGY) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and generally higher debt management risk.

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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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 1175.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$50.20 million to $540.00 million.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, INERGY LP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for INERGY LP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.80%. Regardless of NRGY's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, NRGY's net profit margin of 177.51% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • NRGY has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 19.81% 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.
  • NRGY's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.71 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. Despite the fact that NRGY's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.56 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.
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Inergy, L.P. engages in the storage and transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGL) in the United States and Canada. The company has a P/E ratio of 4.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Inergy L.P has a market cap of $2.43 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are up 6.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #9

ChinaEdu Corporation ( CEDU) 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 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, unimpressive growth in net income and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 17.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.9%. 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.
  • CEDU 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 2.61, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for CHINAEDU CORP -ADR is rather high; currently it is at 67.00%. 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 2.63% trails the industry average.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the Diversified Consumer Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 44.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.95 million to $0.53 million.
  • In its most recent trading session, CEDU 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, 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.
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ChinaEdu Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, provides educational services to the online degree programs of universities in the People's Republic of China. The company has a P/E ratio of 115.2, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. ChinaEdu has a market cap of $103.3 million and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are down 0.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Rating Change #8

Halcon Resources Corp ( HK) 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, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HK's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 200.9%. 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 51.12% to $16.28 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HALCON RESOURCES CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -15.37%.
  • The gross profit margin for HALCON RESOURCES CORP is currently very high, coming in at 71.00%. 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 -27.77% is in-line with the industry average.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. To add to this, HK has a quick ratio of 0.67, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, HALCON RESOURCES CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
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Halcon Resources Corporation, an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, production, exploration, and development of onshore oil and natural gas properties in the United States. Halcon has a market cap of $1.88 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 5.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #7

Pebblebrook Hotel Trust ( PEB) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

  • 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:
  • PEB's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 15.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • PEBBLEBROOK HOTEL TRUST 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. During the past fiscal year, PEBBLEBROOK HOTEL TRUST turned its bottom line around by earning $0.06 versus -$0.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.14 versus $0.06).
  • 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 108.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $5.72 million to $11.92 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 92.27% to $25.08 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, PEBBLEBROOK HOTEL TRUST has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 13.51%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 160.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 26.16% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
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Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, through Pebblebrook Hotel, L.P., operates as a real estate investment trust. The company acquires and invests primarily in hotel properties located in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 141.6, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Pebblebrook Hotel has a market cap of $1.46 billion and is part of the financial sector and real estate industry. Shares are up 4.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #6

FreightCar America Inc ( RAIL) 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 attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

  • 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 came in higher than the industry average of 0.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • RAIL 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, RAIL has a quick ratio of 2.21, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • FREIGHTCAR AMERICA 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, FREIGHTCAR AMERICA INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.42 versus -$1.07 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.94 versus $0.42).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry. The net income increased by 294.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$2.44 million to $4.76 million.
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FreightCar America, Inc., through its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and sells railroad freight cars primarily for railroads, shippers, and financial institutions in North America. The company has a P/E ratio of 10, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. FreightCar America has a market cap of $284.8 million and is part of the services sector and transportation industry. Shares are up 6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

Rating Change #5

Harvard Bioscience Inc ( HBIO) 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, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

  • 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:
  • HBIO's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 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 3.56, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 106.85% to $2.50 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HARVARD BIOSCIENCE INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 10.87%.
  • 47.10% is the gross profit margin for HARVARD BIOSCIENCE INC which we consider to be strong. 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 -0.50% is in-line with the industry average.
  • This stock has managed to rise its share value by 15.34% over the past twelve months. 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. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • HBIO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.
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Harvard Bioscience, Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets apparatus and scientific instruments used in life science research in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities, and government laboratories in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 61.3, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Harvard Bioscience has a market cap of $123.6 million and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are down 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Rating Change #4

Materion Corp ( MTRN) 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

  • 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:
  • MTRN's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 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 1.02, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 136.52% to $1.67 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MATERION CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 68.53%.
  • MTRN, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 20.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 26.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • In its most recent trading session, MTRN 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. 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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Materion Corporation, through its subsidiaries, produces and sells engineered materials for use in various electrical, electronic, thermal, and structural applications primarily in the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company has a P/E ratio of 24.7, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Materion has a market cap of $560.9 million and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are up 6.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Rating Change #3

Bolt Technology Corporation ( BOLT) 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, increase in net income, 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 11.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 49.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • BOLT 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 4.61, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 136.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.72 million to $1.70 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2.46 million or 44.03% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 15.88%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 150.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 34.06% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
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Bolt Technology Corporation engages in the development, manufacture, and sale of marine seismic data acquisition equipment and underwater remotely operated robotic vehicles worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 43.1, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Bolt Technology has a market cap of $129.7 million and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 5.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #2

Giant Interactive Group Inc ( GA) 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, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

  • 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 came in higher than the industry average of 1.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 20.4%. 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.
  • GA 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, GA has a quick ratio of 2.46, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity 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 Software industry and the overall market, GIANT INTERACTIVE GROUP -ADR's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, GA's share price has jumped by 58.80%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, GA should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
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Giant Interactive Group Inc. develops and operates online games in the People's Republic of China. It primarily offers multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs). The company operates 11 games, including nine MMORPGs, one casual massively multiplayer online game, and one strategy browser game. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.7, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Giant Interactive Group has a market cap of $1.51 billion and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are up 18.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #1

Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc ( SCMP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, weak operating cash flow and generally higher debt management risk.

  • 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 came in higher than the industry average of 4.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.8%. 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.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. 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 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. Compared to other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, SUCAMPO PHARMACEUTICALS INC's return on equity significantly trails 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 Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 45.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$4.08 million to -$5.95 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$5.94 million or 120.42% 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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Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company, focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of drugs based on prostones and other novel drug technologies in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. A has a market cap of $212 million and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 3.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc. A 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.

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