3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MA, QCOM, MO

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) -- TheStreet Ratings team reiterated 3 stocks with a buy rating on Friday based on 32 different data factors including general market action, fundamental analysis and technical indicators. The in-depth analysis of these ratings decisions goes as follows:

MasterCard Incorporated:

MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE: MA) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A-. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 20.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.2%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • MASTERCARD INC has improved earnings per share by 7.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MASTERCARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.19 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.04 versus $2.57).
  • The gross profit margin for MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 51.08%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 29.30% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1,199.00 million or 38.45% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 21.79%.
  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 50.93% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp 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 other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

MasterCard Incorporated provides transaction processing and other payment-related services in the United States and internationally. It facilitates the processing of payment transactions, including authorization, clearing, and settlement, as well as delivers related products and services. MasterCard has a market cap of $89.2 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 6.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Qualcomm Inc.:

Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of A. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. 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:
  • QCOM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.0%. 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.
  • QCOM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.00 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.50, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • 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 Communications Equipment industry and the overall market, QUALCOMM INC's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,781.00 million or 40.81% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 19.07%.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.

QUALCOMM Incorporated designs, develops, manufactures, and markets digital communications products and services based on code division multiple access (CDMA), orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), and other technologies. Qualcomm has a market cap of $129.7 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are up 3.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Altria Group Inc.:

Altria Group (NYSE: MO) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B+. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. 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 gross profit margin for ALTRIA GROUP INC is rather high; currently it is at 55.79%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MO's net profit margin of 11.08% significantly trails the industry average.
  • ALTRIA GROUP 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. 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, ALTRIA GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.26 versus $2.06 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.57 versus $2.26).
  • MO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 1.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Tobacco industry and the overall market, ALTRIA GROUP INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Altria Group, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Altria Group has a market cap of $73.6 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and tobacco industry. Shares are down 3.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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