Will This Upgrade Help Kirby Corporation (KEX) Today? (Update)

Update (9:40 a.m.): Updated with Monday market open information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- FBR Capital Markets added Kirby Corporation  (KEX) to its "Top Picks List." The firm noted the company's core marine transportation unit is showing solid growth.

The stock was falling 0.2% to $105.46 at 9:40 a.m. on Monday.

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

----------

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates KIRBY CORP as a "buy" with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KIRBY CORP (KEX) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. 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, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

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

  • KEX's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.37, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • KIRBY CORP has improved earnings per share by 9.7% 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, KIRBY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.45 versus $3.74 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.93 versus $4.45).
  • 35.11% is the gross profit margin for KIRBY CORP which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 11.30% trails the industry average.
  • 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 37.77% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: KEX 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.

If you liked this article you might like

Cramer: Can the Pummeled Transports Get Back on Track?

Market Recon: Today Is the Day You've Been Waiting For

Time to Bulk Up on Shipper Kirby Corp.

Analysts' Actions -- Eaton, Ford, Altria, Ralph Lauren and More