NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Southwest Gas (SWX - Get Report) has been initiated with a "hold" rating and $55 price target, Jefferies said Wednesday. The firm said the stock is poised to benefit from ongoing regional economic and housing recoveries.
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--------------------Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates SOUTHWEST GAS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate SOUTHWEST GAS CORP (SWX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, 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 analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:
- Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.2%. 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 increased to $77.67 million or 38.67% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 0.91%.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.98, 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 SWX's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.60, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- 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 Gas Utilities industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, SOUTHWEST GAS CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
- You can view the full analysis from the report here: SWX Ratings Report