3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: UNH, MO, USB

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 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:

UnitedHealth Group Inc:

UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) 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 solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. 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:
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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.
  • UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 17.5% 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, UNITEDHEALTH GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $5.50 versus $5.28 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.60 versus $5.50).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Health Care Providers & Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 14.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,244.00 million to $1,427.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 10.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 8.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated operates as a diversified health and well-being company in the United States. UnitedHealth Group has a market cap of $75.0 billion and is part of the health care sector and health services industry. Shares are up 0.6% 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 2.9%. 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, manufactures and sells cigarettes, smokeless products, and wine in the United States and internationally. Altria Group has a market cap of $76.4 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and tobacco industry. Shares are up 0.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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U.S. Bancorp:

U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB) 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 expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. 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 U S BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 86.78%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 27.23% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • U S BANCORP reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, U S BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.01 versus $2.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.15 versus $3.01).
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • Despite the weak revenue results, USB has outperformed against the industry average of 12.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to not be hurting the bottom line, shown by stable earnings per share.
  • The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, U S BANCORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

U.S. Bancorp, a financial services holding company, provides a range of financial services in the United States. U.S has a market cap of $73.3 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 0.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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