NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hospira (NYSE: HSP) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 72.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $83.50 million to $143.60 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • HOSPIRA INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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, HOSPIRA INC reported lower earnings of $2.11 versus $2.48 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.90 versus $2.11).
  • HSP's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 32.74%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, HSP is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, HOSPIRA INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Hospira, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company, develops, manufactures, and markets pharmaceuticals and medication delivery systems in the United States and internationally. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.2, above the average drugs industry P/E ratio of 14.8 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Hospira has a market cap of $6.1 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are down 31% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Hospira Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

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