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NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Starbucks Corporation

(Nasdaq:

SBUX

) 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, increase in net income, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry average. The net income increased by 25.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $432.20 million to $540.70 million.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 33.94% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • STARBUCKS CORP has improved earnings per share by 24.6% 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, STARBUCKS CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.01 versus $1.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.67 versus -$0.01).
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.78 is weak.

Starbucks Corporation operates as a roaster, marketer, and retailer of specialty coffee worldwide. Its stores offer coffee and tea beverages, packaged roasted whole bean and ground coffees, single serve products, and juices and bottled water. Starbucks has a market cap of $54.85 billion and is part of the services sector and leisure industry. Shares are down 7.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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