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FirstEnergy Corp Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (FE)

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) -- FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B+. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 112.10% to $50.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIRSTENERGY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -1.88%.
  • FIRSTENERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 35.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
  • FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 13.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.56 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.27, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Electric Utilities industry and the overall market, FIRSTENERGY CORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy holding company, engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the United States. The company operates in Regulated Distribution, Regulated Transmission, and Competitive Energy Services segments. FirstEnergy has a market cap of $17.9 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 27.00, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 18.00. Shares are up 3.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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