Will This Upgrade Help Prudential (PRU) Today? (Update)

Update (9:35 a.m.): Updated with Friday market open information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bank of America/Merrill Lynch upgraded Prudential  (PRU) to "buy" from "neutral" and set a $103 target price. The firm noted strong earnings power should support a solid return on equity over the next few years.

The stock was rising 2.12 to $88.61 at 9:35 a.m. on Friday.

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC as a buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC (PRU) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, PRU's share price has jumped by 50.66%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. 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.
  • PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC 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 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, PRUDENTIAL FINANCIAL INC swung to a loss, reporting -$1.76 versus $1.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($9.22 versus -$1.76).
  • PRU, with its very weak revenue results, has greatly underperformed against the industry average of 19.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues plummeted by 78.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Insurance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 219.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$144.00 million to -$460.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PRU Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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.

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