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) -- FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. Among the primary strengths of the company is its generally strong cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
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- Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,044.00 million or 25.17% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 5.00%.
- FIRSTENERGY CORP 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. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRSTENERGY CORP reported lower earnings of $1.84 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.00 versus $1.84).
- FE, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 13.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- The gross profit margin for FIRSTENERGY CORP is currently extremely low, coming in at 12.40%. Regardless of FE's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, FE's net profit margin of -4.23% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
- In its most recent trading session, FE has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff