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) -- Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, impressive record of earnings per share growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.
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- Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,908.86 million or 9.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, SONY CORP has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 8.99%.
- The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.69, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that SNE's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.54, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
- SNE's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 28.89%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
- The gross profit margin for SONY CORP is currently extremely low, coming in at 4.00%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -0.39% trails that of the industry average.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff