Energy Transfer Equity LP Stock Downgraded (ETE)

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) -- Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE: ETE) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including deteriorating net income, generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.4%. 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.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, ETE's share price has jumped by 66.79%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ENERGY TRANSFER EQUITY LP reported lower earnings of $0.31 versus $0.82 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.34 versus $0.31).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 451.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $49.00 million to -$172.00 million.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 20.93 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company.

Energy Transfer Equity, L.P., through its subsidiaries, provides diversified energy-related services in the United States. The company sells natural gas to electric utilities, independent power plants, local distribution companies, industrial end-users, and other marketing companies. Energy Transfer Equity has a market cap of $23.97 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 4.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Energy Transfer Equity 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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