MSCI Inc. Stock Downgraded (MSCI)

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.

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

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MSCI's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.3%. 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.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.62, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.02, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • MSCI INC's earnings per share declined by 18.9% 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, MSCI INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.40 versus $0.81 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.98 versus $1.40).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Financial Services industry average. The net income has decreased by 17.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $45.66 million to $37.55 million.
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, MSCI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 16.70% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.
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MSCI Inc. provides a suite of performance, risk management, and corporate governance products and services worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 19, below the average computer software & services industry P/E ratio of 19.2 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. MSCI has a market cap of $3.3 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are down 17.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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