3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MSFT, BMY, CAT

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 Wednesday 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:

Microsoft Corporation:

Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) 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, attractive valuation levels and solid stock price performance. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MSFT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Although MSFT's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.27 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.96, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, MICROSOFT CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 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 42.43% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MSFT should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, and supports software, services, and hardware devices. Its Windows division offers Windows operating system; Windows Services suite of applications and Web services, including Outlook.com and SkyDrive; Surface RT and Pro devices; and PC accessories. Microsoft has a market cap of $336.2 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are up 7.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Company:

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) 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, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. 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:
  • BMY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.0%. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 68.66% to $1,410.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 10.70%.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, BMY's share price has jumped by 34.88%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. 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.
  • BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO's earnings per share declined by 21.4% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.55 versus $1.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.78 versus $1.55).
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.55, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.50 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company discovers, develops, licenses, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells biopharmaceutical products worldwide. Bristol-Myers Squibb has a market cap of $84.6 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are down 4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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Caterpillar Inc:

Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT) 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 increase in net income, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations, increase in stock price during the past year and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry. The net income increased by 43.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $697.00 million to $1,003.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,580.00 million or 30.36% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, CATERPILLAR INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 27.15%.
  • 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.
  • CATERPILLAR INC has improved earnings per share by 48.1% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, CATERPILLAR INC reported lower earnings of $5.75 versus $8.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.90 versus $5.75).

Caterpillar Inc. manufactures and sells construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives worldwide. Caterpillar has a market cap of $61.8 billion and is part of the industrial goods sector and industrial industry. Shares are up 8.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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