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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Linn Energy  (LINE has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from Hold to Sell with a ratings score of D+.  TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate LINN ENERGY LLC (LINE) a SELL. This is driven by a few notable weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, generally high debt management risk, disappointing return on equity, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share."

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

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 160.2% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $345.16 million to -$207.87 million.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.87 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. To add to this, LINE has a quick ratio of 0.56, this demonstrates the lack of ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, LINN ENERGY LLC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The share price of LINN ENERGY LLC has not done very well: it is down 6.59% 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. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • LINN ENERGY LLC 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. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, LINN ENERGY LLC reported poor results of -$2.78 versus -$1.86 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.55 versus -$2.78).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LINE Ratings Report

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