Monsanto Company Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (MON)

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) -- Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • MON's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.18 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.45, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,198.00 million or 17.54% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 1.23%.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Chemicals industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MONSANTO CO has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, MON's share price has jumped by 31.65%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • MONSANTO CO has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from 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, MONSANTO CO increased its bottom line by earning $3.78 versus $2.96 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.39 versus $3.78).

Monsanto Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides agricultural products for farmers. It operates in two segments, Seeds and Genomics, and Agricultural Productivity. Monsanto has a market cap of $48.5 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and chemicals industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 24, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 31.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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