Express Scripts Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (ESRX)
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) -- Express Scripts (Nasdaq:ESRX) 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 robust revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.
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- ESRX's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 13.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 114.5%. 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.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Health Care Providers & Services industry. The net income increased by 39.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $267.80 million to $373.00 million.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 81.77% to $963.60 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -40.46%.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.61, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that ESRX's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.55, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING CO's earnings per share declined by 18.2% 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 two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, EXPRESS SCRIPTS HOLDING CO reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.52 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.30 versus $1.84).
--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.Exclusive Offer: Jim Cramer's 'go-to' small/mid-cap guru Bryan Ashenberg only buys stocks he thinks could return 50-100%. See his top picks for 14-days FREE.
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