NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Western Refining Inc

(NYSE:

WNR

) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • WESTERN REFINING INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, WESTERN REFINING INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.20 versus -$4.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.66 versus -$0.20).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 597.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $14.35 million to $100.07 million.
  • WNR's revenue growth trails the industry average of 42.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 11342.58% to $165.80 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, WESTERN REFINING INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 43.05%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 487.50% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 121.37% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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.

Western Refining, Inc., through its subsidiaries, operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and the Mid-Atlantic region. The company operates in three groups: Refining group, Retail group, and Wholesale group. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.3, below the average energy industry P/E ratio of 13.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Western Refining has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the

basic materials

sector and

energy

industry. Shares are up 42.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full

Western Refining Ratings Report

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