3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: MRK, IBM, JNJ

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:

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 solid stock price performance, increase in net income, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Pharmaceuticals industry. The net income increased by 121.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $906.00 million to $2,004.00 million.
  • MERCK & CO reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 ($3.50 versus $1.46).
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 4.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.7%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for MERCK & CO is rather high; currently it is at 62.85%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 18.32% trails the industry average.

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 $162.6 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 11.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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International Business Machines Corp:

International Business Machines (NYSE: IBM) 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 growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP has improved earnings per share by 41.6% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP increased its bottom line by earning $15.02 versus $14.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($17.90 versus $15.02).
  • 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 IT Services industry average. The net income increased by 28.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3,226.00 million to $4,137.00 million.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market, INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $3,579.00 million or 12.75% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -4.06%.
  • The gross profit margin for INTL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP is rather high; currently it is at 54.45%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.97% trails the industry average.

International Business Machines Corporation provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. International Business Machines has a market cap of $183.9 billion and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are down 1.7% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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Johnson & Johnson:

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) 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, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and growth in earnings per share. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 4.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • JNJ's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. To add to this, JNJ has a quick ratio of 1.80, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Pharmaceuticals industry and the overall market, JOHNSON & JOHNSON's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • JOHNSON & JOHNSON has improved earnings per share by 13.5% 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, JOHNSON & JOHNSON increased its bottom line by earning $4.82 versus $3.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.92 versus $4.82).

Johnson & Johnson, together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices and Diagnostics. Johnson & Johnson has a market cap of $281.8 billion and is part of the health care sector and drugs industry. Shares are up 9.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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