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TSC Ratings' Updates: Panasonic

Revenue increased by 31.7% since the same quarter last year, compared with the industry average of 33.1% growth. The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior, which can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. NFG's ROE exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500. The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.69, and is less than that of the industry average, implying a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. The quick ratio, however, which is currently 0.68, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs. NFG's gross profit margin of 30.3% is currently lower than what is desirable, having decreased from the same quarter the previous year, but the net profit margin of 10.9% is above that of the industry average. 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 gas utilities industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 72.6% when compared with the same quarter one year ago, falling from $157.7 million to $43.3 million.

We've downgraded electronics producer Panasonic (PC) from hold to sell, driven by its weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $130 million, or 87.70% when compared with the same quarter last year. In addition, compared with the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower. The gross profit margin is currently lower than what is desirable, at 32.1%, but it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Panasonic's 2.5% net profit margin, however, compares favorably with the industry average. EPS declined by 10.7% in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently, and we feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, it increased its bottom line by earning $1.33 vs. 84 cents in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 15.8% in earnings to $1.12. Net income decreased by 11.6% compared with the same quarter last year, to $525 million.

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