MarkWest Energy Partners LP Stock Upgraded (MWE)

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) -- MarkWest Energy Partners (NYSE: MWE) 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, good cash flow from operations 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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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 1.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 49.9%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $153.06 million or 14.84% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -48.14%.
  • 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. Looking ahead, the stock's 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 the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP's earnings per share declined by 30.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MARKWEST ENERGY PARTNERS LP increased its bottom line by earning $1.70 versus $0.80 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 69.4% in earnings ($0.52 versus $1.70).
  • MWE's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.85 is somewhat low overall, but it is high when compared to the industry average, implying that the management of the debt levels should be evaluated further. Despite the fact that MWE's debt-to-equity ratio is mixed in its results, the company's quick ratio of 0.61 is low and demonstrates weak liquidity.

Markwest Energy Partners, L.P., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas the United States. MarkWest Energy has a market cap of $10.42 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 1.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full MarkWest Energy 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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