3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MU, 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 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:

Micron Technology Inc:

Micron Technology (Nasdaq: MU) 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 robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • MU's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 2.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 71.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 1600.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 161.11% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, MU should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • MICRON TECHNOLOGY 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.00 versus -$1.04 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.21 versus $1.00).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry. The net income increased by 1774.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $43.00 million to $806.00 million.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Micron Technology, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, manufactures and markets semiconductor solutions worldwide. Micron Technology has a market cap of $37.1 billion and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are up 52% 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 increase in net income. 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).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Pharmaceuticals industry average. The net income increased by 7.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,593.00 million to $1,705.00 million.

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 $169.9 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 15.1% 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 ($5.67 versus $2.91).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of 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 $63.0 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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