Editor's Note: TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.
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- Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 44.80% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, ITW should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS has improved earnings per share by 15.6% 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, ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS increased its bottom line by earning $4.07 versus $2.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.11 versus $4.07).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry. The net income increased by 76.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $498.43 million to $881.00 million.
- Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.49, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.FREE from Real Money's Jim Cramer: Winners and Losers Election 2012 - Steps to take NOW so you can profit no matter who is in charge! Free Download Now
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