Will This Price Target Increase Help WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) Stock Today?

Story updated at 10 a.m. to reflect market activity.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Credit Suisse raises its price target for WhiteWave Foods (WWAV) to $36 from $35 Friday, reiterating its "outperform" rating.

Shares of WhiteWave fell -2% to $32.18 in morning trading.

The analyst firm also raised its EPS estimates for the company through 2015. WhiteWave's management continues to exceed expectations according to Credit Suisse analysts.

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Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates WHITEWAVE FOODS CO as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate WHITEWAVE FOODS CO (WWAV) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed ? some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company has favored debt over equity in the management of its balance sheet."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 4.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 36.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • WHITEWAVE FOODS CO has improved earnings per share by 28.6% 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, WHITEWAVE FOODS CO increased its bottom line by earning $0.56 versus $0.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.98 versus $0.56).
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 28.57% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 59.39% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • 36.18% is the gross profit margin for WHITEWAVE FOODS CO which we consider to be strong. Regardless of WWAV's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 3.89% trails the industry average.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.29 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. To add to this, WWAV has a quick ratio of 0.57, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WWAV Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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.

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