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Safeway Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (SWY)

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) -- Safeway (NYSE: SWY) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • SAFEWAY INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, SAFEWAY INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.31 versus $1.53 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.35 versus $2.31).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income increased by 13.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $215.60 million to $244.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Food & Staples Retailing industry and the overall market, SAFEWAY INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Safeway Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a food and drug retailer in North America. Safeway has a market cap of $6.4 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.00, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 18.00. Shares are up 46.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Safeway Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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