NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Baxter International

(NYSE:

BAX

) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • BAX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.9%. 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 Health Care Equipment & Supplies industry and the overall market, BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC has improved earnings per share by 13.5% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC reported lower earnings of $2.40 versus $3.60 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.31 versus $2.40).
  • The gross profit margin for BAXTER INTERNATIONAL INC is rather high; currently it is at 56.00%. Regardless of BAX's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.60% trails the industry average.
  • BAX's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.65 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.12 is sturdy.

Baxter International Inc., through its subsidiaries, develops, manufactures, and markets products for people with hemophilia, immune disorders, infectious diseases, kidney disease, trauma, and other chronic and acute medical conditions. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.1, equal to the average health services industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Baxter International has a market cap of $27.89 billion and is part of the

health care

sector and

health services

industry. Shares are down 1.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full

Baxter International Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

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