Staples Inc. Stock Upgraded (SPLS)

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) -- Staples (Nasdaq: SPLS) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, compelling growth in net income, attractive valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The strong earnings growth this company has enjoyed -- up -- has apparently played a role in driving up its share price by a solid 28.62%. In addition, the rise in the general market has likely contributed to this stock's strong performance during this past year.Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Specialty Retail industry. The net income increased by 122.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$596.25 million to $135.23 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.33, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.74 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • STAPLES INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. 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, STAPLES INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.25 versus $1.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.23 versus -$0.25).

Staples, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an office products company. It operates in three segments: North American Stores & Online, North American Commercial, and International Operations. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.2, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Staples has a market cap of $9.97 billion and is part of the services sector and specialty retail industry. Shares are up 32.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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