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) -- Western Union (NYSE: WU) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year 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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- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
- 45.96% is the gross profit margin for WESTERN UNION CO which we consider to be strong. Regardless of WU's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, WU's net profit margin of 15.02% compares favorably to the industry average.
- WESTERN UNION CO reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. 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, WESTERN UNION CO reported lower earnings of $1.43 versus $1.69 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.45 versus $1.43).
- In its most recent trading session, WU has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. 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.
- 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 IT Services industry and the overall market, WESTERN UNION CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.