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) -- 3M (NYSE: MMM) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.
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- 3M CO has improved earnings per share by 8.6% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, 3M CO increased its bottom line by earning $5.96 versus $5.64 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.32 versus $5.96).
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.36, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.43, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- The gross profit margin for 3M CO is rather high; currently it is at 51.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.50% is above that of the industry average.
- The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. 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.
- MMM, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 17.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.5%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.FREE for a limited time only: Get TheStreet Ratings #1 Stock Report NOW!