Rating Change #1

BP PLC ( BP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, attractive valuation levels, growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 7.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $5,043.00 million to $5,434.00 million.
  • BP PLC has improved earnings per share by 7.6% 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 two years. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BP PLC turned its bottom line around by earning $8.06 versus -$1.24 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 33.6% in earnings ($5.35 versus $8.06).
  • BP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.42, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 0.73 is weak.
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BP p.l.c. provides fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to engines, and petrochemicals products. The company has a P/E ratio of 5.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. BP has a market cap of $136.06 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 0.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full BP 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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