3 Stocks Reiterated As A Hold: PM, FSLR, MS

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 hold rating on Monday 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:

Philip Morris International Inc.:

Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C+. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and deteriorating net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL is rather high; currently it is at 69.17%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 25.51% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,320.00 million or 40.60% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 26.31%.
  • PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, PHILIP MORRIS INTERNATIONAL increased its bottom line by earning $5.26 versus $5.18 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 3.0% in earnings ($5.10 versus $5.26).
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, PM has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 11.68% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Tobacco industry. The net income has decreased by 5.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $2,095.00 million to $1,987.00 million.

Philip Morris International Inc., through its subsidiaries, manufactures and sells cigarettes and other tobacco products. The company's portfolio of brands include Marlboro, Merit, Parliament, Virginia Slims, L&M, Chesterfield, Bond Street, Lark, Muratti, Next, Philip Morris, and Red & White. Philip Morris International has a market cap of $128.3 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and tobacco industry. Shares are down 7.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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First Solar Inc.:

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and reasonable valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, poor profit margins and weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, FSLR's share price has jumped by 124.86%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • FSLR's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.05 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, FSLR has a quick ratio of 1.53, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 5.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 28.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST SOLAR INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 32.62%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 8.49% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $192.21 million or 41.32% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm's growth is significantly lower.

First Solar, Inc. provides solar energy solutions worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Components and Systems. First Solar has a market cap of $5.8 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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Morgan Stanley:

Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a hold with a ratings score of C+. According to TheStreet Ratings team: The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's net income has been quite unimpressive.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.3%. 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.
  • MS's share price has surged by 25.23% over the past year, reflecting the market's general trend, despite their weak earnings growth during the last quarter.
  • MORGAN STANLEY 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, MORGAN STANLEY increased its bottom line by earning $1.43 versus $0.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.52 versus $1.43).
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Capital Markets industry and the overall market, MORGAN STANLEY's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 Capital Markets industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 69.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $594.00 million to $181.00 million.

Morgan Stanley, a financial holding company, provides various financial products and services to corporations, governments, financial institutions, and individuals worldwide. Morgan Stanley has a market cap of $62.9 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are up 1.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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