3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: PCLN, AXP, C

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 Tuesday 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:

Priceline Group Inc:

Priceline Group (Nasdaq: PCLN) 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 robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although PCLN's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.26 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 5.14, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 31.30% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 38.54% 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, PCLN should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • PRICELINE GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 31.3% 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, PRICELINE GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $36.01 versus $27.71 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($52.31 versus $36.01).
  • 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 Internet & Catalog Retail industry average. The net income increased by 35.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $244.27 million to $331.22 million.

The Priceline Group Inc. operates as an online travel company. Priceline Group has a market cap of $67.2 billion and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are up 12.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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American Express Co:

American Express (NYSE: AXP) 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, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. 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:
  • AXP's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMERICAN EXPRESS CO has improved earnings per share by 12.6% 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, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO increased its bottom line by earning $4.88 versus $3.87 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($5.51 versus $4.88).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Consumer Finance industry average. The net income increased by 8.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,405.00 million to $1,529.00 million.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Consumer Finance industry and the overall market, AMERICAN EXPRESS CO's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • 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.

American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, provides charge and credit payment card products and travel-related services to consumers and businesses worldwide. The company operates through four segments: U.S. American Express has a market cap of $91.5 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are down 4.2% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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Citigroup Inc:

Citigroup (NYSE: C) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B. According to TheStreet Ratings team: Among the primary strengths of the company is its expanding profit margins over time. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 40.66% is the gross profit margin for CITIGROUP INC which we consider to be strong. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, C's net profit margin of 0.78% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 14.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.8%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • CITIGROUP INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CITIGROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.25 versus $2.46 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 16.5% in earnings ($3.55 versus $4.25).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $2,012.00 million or 89.95% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow CITIGROUP INC is still fairing well by exceeding its industry average cash flow growth rate of -104.70%.
  • The share price of CITIGROUP INC has not done very well: it is down 6.68% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. Despite the decline in its share price over the last year, this stock is still more expensive (when compared to its current earnings) than most other companies in its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays compensate for this.

Citigroup Inc., a diversified financial services holding company, provides various financial products and services to consumers, corporations, governments, and institutions. Citigroup has a market cap of $146.9 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 7.1% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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