Baidu Inc.'s Buy Recommendation Supported

Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) 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 robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 22.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 43.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • BAIDU INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, BAIDU INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.78 versus $3.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.94 versus $4.78).
  • The gross profit margin for BAIDU INC is rather high; currently it is at 69.84%. Regardless of BIDU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BIDU's net profit margin of 34.96% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.38, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 3.99 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.

Baidu, Inc. provides Chinese language Internet search services. It also offers a Chinese language search platform for businesses to reach their customers. Baidu has a market cap of $47.5 billion and is part of the technology sector and internet industry. Shares are up 36.2% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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