3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: EMC, MRK, 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 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:

EMC Corp:

EMC (NYSE: EMC) 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, 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 sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 2.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. 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.
  • Although EMC's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.24 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.21, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • The gross profit margin for EMC CORP/MA is rather high; currently it is at 69.15%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, EMC's net profit margin of 7.15% significantly trails the industry average.
  • EMC CORP/MA's earnings per share declined by 26.9% 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, EMC CORP/MA increased its bottom line by earning $1.33 versus $1.23 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.90 versus $1.33).
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. In comparison to the other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, EMC CORP/MA's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

EMC Corporation develops, delivers, and supports information infrastructure and virtual infrastructure technologies, solutions, and services. It operates in three segments: Information Storage, Information Intelligence Group, and RSA Information Security. EMC has a market cap of $55.1 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer hardware industry. Shares are up 7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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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.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, this stock has enjoyed a nice rise of 26.85% which was in line with the performance 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.
  • 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 5.6%. 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 $173.0 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 18.3% 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 impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, increase in stock price during the past year, 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 shows weak operating cash flow.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • METLIFE INC has improved earnings per share by 31.0% 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 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 ($5.66 versus $2.91).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 34.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $986.00 million to $1,328.00 million.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. 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.
  • MET, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 7.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.3%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.37, 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 $64.4 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 6.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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