Walgreen Company Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (WAG)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Walgreen Company (NYSE: WAG) 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 increase in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Food & Staples Retailing industry average. The net income increased by 16.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $537.00 million to $624.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 3.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.34, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that WAG's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.56, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 49.00% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp 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 other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • WALGREEN CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, WALGREEN CO reported lower earnings of $2.42 versus $2.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.14 versus $2.42).

Walgreen Co., together with its subsidiaries, operates a network of drugstores in the United States. It provides consumer goods and services, pharmacy, and health and wellness services through drugstores, as well as through mail, and by telephone and online. Walgreen has a market cap of $42.8 billion and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are up 25.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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