Duke Energy Corporation Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (DUK)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
    • 35.90% is the gross profit margin for DUKE ENERGY CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 8.10% trails the industry average.
    • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.90, 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 DUK's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.56, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
    • DUKE ENERGY CORP's earnings per share declined by 42.1% 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, DUKE ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.28 versus $1.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.42 versus $1.28).
    • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.9%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
    • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, the stock's 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 the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

Duke Energy Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as an energy company in the United States and Latin America. The company operates in three segments: U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas, Commercial Power, and International Energy. The U.S. The company has a P/E ratio of 20.7, equal to the average utilities industry P/E ratioand above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Duke Energy has a market cap of $30.96 billion and is part of the utilities sector and utilities industry. Shares are up 5.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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