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) -- Telefonica (NYSE: TEF) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, attractive valuation levels, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.
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- TEF's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.5%. 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.
- The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, TELEFONICA SA has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
- Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite 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.
- TELEFONICA SA's earnings per share declined by 5.7% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, TELEFONICA SA reported lower earnings of $1.14 versus $1.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.46 versus $1.14).