IntercontinentalExchange Inc. Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (ICE)

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) -- IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE: ICE) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for INTERCONTINENTALEXCHANGE INC is currently very high, coming in at 81.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 40.03% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • INTERCONTINENTALEXCHANGE INC's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, INTERCONTINENTALEXCHANGE INC increased its bottom line by earning $7.52 versus $6.91 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.47 versus $7.52).
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.31, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.06 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. operates regulated global markets and clearing houses primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Brazil. IntercontinentalExchange has a market cap of $12.1 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.00, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 18.00. Shares are up 38.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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