3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MA, XOM, MET

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 20.4%. 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 18.26%.
  • 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 36.31% 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.

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 $85.3 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 10.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Exxon Mobil Corporation:

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) 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 attractive valuation levels, increase in stock price during the past year and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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.
  • XOM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.13 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that XOM's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.53, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 7.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • EXXON MOBIL CORP's earnings per share declined by 13.2% in the most recent quarter compared to 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, EXXON MOBIL CORP reported lower earnings of $7.37 versus $9.70 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.54 versus $7.37).

Exxon Mobil Corporation explores and produces for crude oil and natural gas. As of December 31, 2013, the company had approximately 37,661 gross and 31,823 net operated wells. Exxon Mobil has a market cap of $423.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 3.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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MetLife Inc:

MetLife (NYSE: MET) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 13.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • METLIFE INC reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, METLIFE INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.91 versus $1.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.71 versus $2.91).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 228.36% to $6,147.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, METLIFE INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 22.05%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 1183.33% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 37.21% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. 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.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.43, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further.

MetLife, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. MetLife has a market cap of $60.4 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are unchanged year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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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