Rating Change #1

Berkshire Hathaway Inc ( BRK.B) 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, attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 0.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY's earnings per share declined by 9.4% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY reported lower earnings of $4.14 versus $5.30 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7965.38 versus $4.14).
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.34, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.
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Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. is a publicly owned investment manager. Through its subsidiaries, the firm primarily engages in the insurance and reinsurance of property and casualty risks business. Berkshire Hathaway was founded in 1889 and is based in Omaha, Nebraska. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.7, above the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 17.8 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Berkshire Hathaway has a market cap of $95.82 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 15.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

-- Reported by Kevin Baker in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

For additional Investment Research check out our Ratings Research Center.

For all other upgrades and downgrades made by TheStreet Ratings Model today check out our upgrades and downgrades list.

Editor's Note: 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.
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TheStreet Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering equity and mutual fund ratings. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.

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