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Energy giant Valero Energy (VLO - Cramer's Take - Stockpickr) was downgraded Friday to hold from buy. For the crude oil refiner and marketing company, the primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks.

Its revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 29.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenue rose by 49.5%. 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. Its low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.36 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 0.74 is weak.

The gross profit margin for Valero is currently extremely low, coming in at 3.8%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.9% trails that of the industry average. Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $628 million, or 66.7% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when compared to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower. Valero had been rated a buy since June 26, 2006. i>
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