NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Martin Marietta Materials (NYSE:MLM) 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, good cash flow from operations, 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 sub par growth in net income. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The revenue growth significantly trails the industry average of 39.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. 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 $123.19 million or 5.89% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -48.67%.
- MLM's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.72 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 MLM's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 1.60 is high and demonstrates strong liquidity.
- 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 Construction Materials industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MARTIN MARIETTA MATERIALS has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
- After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that MLM's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. 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 is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.
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