TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

Tickers in this article: APKT ESLT GENC IPI KNSY KNX MSL NUE RAH UGI

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 32 U.S. common stocks for week ending December 30, 2011. 24 stocks were upgraded and 8 stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

Gencor Industries Inc 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, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • GENCOR INDUSTRIES 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 suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, GENCOR INDUSTRIES INC reported lower earnings of $0.03 versus $0.32 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 Machinery industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 313.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.07 million to -$4.42 million.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Machinery industry and the overall market, GENCOR INDUSTRIES INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.21 million or 123.08% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The gross profit margin for GENCOR INDUSTRIES INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 14.40%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, GENC's net profit margin of -36.40% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.

Gencor Industries, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, designs, manufactures, and sells machinery products for the production of highway construction materials, synthetic fuels, and environmental control equipment. The company has a P/E ratio of 337.5, equal to the average industrial industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Gencor has a market cap of $54.1 million and is part of the industrial goods sector and industrial industry. Shares are down 4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #9

Midsouth Bancorp 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 and expanding profit margins. 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.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MSL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 87.20%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MSL's net profit margin of 6.70% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $2.76 million or 31.34% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • MIDSOUTH BANCORP 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. 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, MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC reported lower earnings of $0.47 versus $0.51 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 38.3% in earnings ($0.29 versus $0.47).
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry. The net income has decreased by 11.3% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1.24 million to $1.10 million.

Midsouth Bancorp, Inc. operates as a bank holding company for MidSouth Bank, N.A. that provides various banking services to commercial and retail customers in south Louisiana and southeast Texas. The company has a P/E ratio of 38.9, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Midsouth has a market cap of $128.7 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 13.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Rating Change #8

Kensey Nash Corporation 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.0%. 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 $7.76 million or 8.02% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, KENSEY NASH CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 3.78%.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.33, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 4.27 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.
  • 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 Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry and the overall market, KENSEY NASH CORP'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 30.17%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 36.58% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the heavy decline in its share price, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry.

Kensey Nash Corporation, a medical device company, engages in the field of regenerative medicine products and technologies to help repair damaged or diseased tissues. The company has a P/E ratio of 247.5, below the average health services industry P/E ratio of 660 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Kensey Nash has a market cap of $171.2 million and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are down 29.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Rating Change #7

Intrepid Potash Inc 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 compelling growth in net income. 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:
  • IPI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 14.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 24.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • IPI 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 3.53, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • INTREPID POTASH 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, INTREPID POTASH INC reported lower earnings of $0.61 versus $0.74 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.35 versus $0.61).
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. In comparison to the other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market, INTREPID POTASH INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.
  • IPI'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 35.21%, 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. 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, IPI is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.

Intrepid Potash, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the production and marketing of muriate of potash or potassium chloride, and langbeinite under the Trio brand name primarily in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.3, above the average chemicals industry P/E ratio of 16 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Intrepid Potash has a market cap of $1.65 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and chemicals industry. Shares are down 37% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

Rating Change #6

Acme Packet Inc 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 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 disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 6.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 24.7%. 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.
  • APKT 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 8.17, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • ACME PACKET INC's earnings per share declined by 26.7% 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, ACME PACKET INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.63 versus $0.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.14 versus $0.63).
  • 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 Communications Equipment industry and the overall market, ACME PACKET INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Acme Packet, Inc. provides session delivery network solutions that enable the delivery of interactive communications, such as voice, video, and multimedia sessions; and data services across internet protocol (IP) network borders. The company has a P/E ratio of 43.9, equal to the average telecommunications industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Acme Packet has a market cap of $2.06 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are down 42.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #5

Knight Transportation Inc 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, growth in earnings per share and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • KNX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 15.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • KNX's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.11 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, KNX has a quick ratio of 1.98, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION INC has improved earnings per share by 5.0% 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, KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.71 versus $0.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.73 versus $0.71).
  • 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 Road & Rail industry and the overall market, KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for KNIGHT TRANSPORTATION INC is rather low; currently it is at 20.60%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 7.30% significantly trails the industry average.

Knight Transportation, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a short to medium-haul truckload carrier of general commodities in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.2, above the average transportation industry P/E ratio of 21.9 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Knight Transportation has a market cap of $1.21 billion and is part of the services sector and transportation industry. Shares are down 18.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #4

Elbit Systems Ltd 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, attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, 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:
  • ESLT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. 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 56.65% to -$12.13 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -28.75%.
  • 36.40% is the gross profit margin for ELBIT SYSTEMS LTD 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 5.50% trails the industry average.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.75, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that ESLT's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.55, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.

Elbit Systems Ltd. engages in the design, development, manufacture, and integration of defense systems and products worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 10.7, below the average aerospace/defense industry P/E ratio of 18.1 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Elbit Systems has a market cap of $1.86 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector and aerospace/defense industry. Shares are down 20.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

Rating Change #3

UGI Corporation 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, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations 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:
  • UGI's revenue growth trails the industry average of 41.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.7%. 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 $87.50 million or 6.57% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 6.57%, UGI CORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 57.07%.
  • Even though the current debt-to-equity ratio is 1.16, it is still below the industry average, suggesting that this level of debt is acceptable within the Gas Utilities industry. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.74 is weak.
  • UGI 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 two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, UGI CORP reported lower earnings of $2.07 versus $2.38 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.41 versus $2.07).

UGI Corporation, through its subsidiaries, distributes and markets energy products and related services in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.2, equal to the average utilities industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. UGI has a market cap of $3.37 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 6.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #2

Ralcorp Holdings Incorporated has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, revenue growth and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • RAH's revenue growth trails the industry average of 23.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.3%. 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.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, RAH's share price has jumped by 33.66%, 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, RAH should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 844.52% to $137.90 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, RALCORP HOLDINGS INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 340.10%.
  • RALCORP HOLDINGS 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 suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, RALCORP HOLDINGS INC swung to a loss, reporting -$3.44 versus $3.74 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.90 versus -$3.44).
  • RAH's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88 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 RAH's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.70 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.

Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. engages in manufacturing, distributing, and marketing private-brand food products, ready-to-eat cereal products, and other regional and value-brand food products. Ralcorp has a market cap of $4.68 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and food & beverage industry. Shares are up 33.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

Rating Change #1

Nucor Corp 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, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • NUCOR 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, NUCOR CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $0.42 versus -$0.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.30 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 Metals & Mining industry. The net income increased by 672.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $23.50 million to $181.52 million.
  • The revenue growth significantly trails the industry average of 73.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.9%. 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 0.57, 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 NUE's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.80 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Metals & Mining industry and the overall market, NUCOR CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Nucor Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of steel and steel products in North America and internationally. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.4, above the average metals & mining industry P/E ratio of 20.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Nucor has a market cap of $12.53 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and metals & mining industry. Shares are down 7.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Nucor 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.

Tickers in this article: APKT ESLT GENC IPI KNSY KNX MSL NUE RAH UGI