TheStreet Ratings Top 10 Rating Changes

Tickers in this article: ASTX BAGL FE GES GLW GM RAIL SBRA TWGP ZION

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 80 U.S. common stocks for week ending March 1, 2013. 56 stocks were upgraded and 24 stocks were downgraded by our stock model.

Rating Change #10

FirstEnergy Corp (FE) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. At the same time, however, 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:

  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,044.00 million or 25.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.47%.
  • FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 14.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • FIRSTENERGY 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 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, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.46 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.28, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, FIRSTENERGY CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
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FirstEnergy Corp. operates as a diversified energy company. The company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It owns and operates fossil, hydroelectric, and nuclear generating facilities, as well as wind and solar facilities. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.9, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $16.95 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are down 2.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.