3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MA, MRK, KO

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:

MasterCard Inc:

MasterCard (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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, increase in net income and expanding profit margins. 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 16.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 14.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.23 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, MA has a quick ratio of 1.60, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • MASTERCARD INC has improved earnings per share by 17.2% 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 ($3.01 versus $2.57).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the IT Services industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 13.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $766.00 million to $870.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 62.38%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.96% significantly outperformed against the industry average.

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 $86.4 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 9.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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Merck & Co Inc:

Merck (NYSE: MRK) 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.56, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for MERCK & CO is currently very high, coming in at 89.02%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.61% trails the industry average.
  • The stock has risen over the past year as investors have generally rewarded the company for its earnings growth and other positive factors like the ones we have cited in this report. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • MERCK & CO has improved earnings per share by 9.6% 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, MERCK & CO reported lower earnings of $1.46 versus $2.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.46 versus $1.46).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 5.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

Merck & Co., Inc. provides various health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, animal health, and consumer care products worldwide. Merck has a market cap of $171.9 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 16.4% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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Coca-Cola Co:

Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) 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, good cash flow from operations, reasonable valuation levels and notable return on equity. 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 gross profit margin for COCA-COLA CO is rather high; currently it is at 65.87%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.30% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 123.01% to $1,066.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, COCA-COLA CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -9.55%.
  • COCA-COLA CO's earnings per share declined by 7.7% 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 year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, COCA-COLA CO reported lower earnings of $1.90 versus $1.96 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.10 versus $1.90).
  • KO, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.2%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.

The Coca-Cola Company, a beverage company, manufactures and distributes coke, diet coke, and other soft drinks worldwide. The company primarily offers nonalcoholic beverages, including sparkling beverages and still beverages. Coca-Cola has a market cap of $179.6 billion and is part of the consumer goods sector and food & beverage industry. Shares are down 2.3% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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