3 Stocks Reiterated As A Buy: PCLN, VZ, OXY

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:

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, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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:
  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 7.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 26.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although PCLN's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.23 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 5.32, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash 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. When compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, PRICELINE GROUP INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PRICELINE GROUP INC is currently very high, coming in at 88.67%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 27.14% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $689.98 million or 16.27% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 1.86%.

The Priceline Group Inc. operates as an online travel company. Priceline Group has a market cap of $66.8 billion and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are up 8.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Verizon Communications Inc:

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) 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, notable return on equity, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. 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:
  • VZ's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 Diversified Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 87.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2,246.00 million to $4,214.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.61%. Regardless of VZ's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, VZ's net profit margin of 13.38% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC has improved earnings per share by 29.5% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.00 versus $0.31 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 11.3% in earnings ($3.55 versus $4.00).

Verizon Communications Inc. provides communications, information, and entertainment products and services to consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies worldwide. Verizon has a market cap of $202.4 billion and is part of the technology sector and telecommunications industry. Shares are down 0.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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Occidental Petroleum Corp:

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) 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, increase in stock price during the past year, expanding profit margins, increase in net income and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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:
  • OXY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 2.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • 48.97% is the gross profit margin for OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of OXY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, OXY's net profit margin of 22.80% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • 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 Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry average. The net income increased by 8.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,322.00 million to $1,431.00 million.
  • OXY's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.16 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.93 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, and development of oil and gas properties in the United States and internationally. The company operates in three segments: Oil and Gas; Chemical; and Midstream, Marketing and Other. Occidental has a market cap of $79.3 billion and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are up 7.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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