NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Kimberly-Clark Corp  (KMB) are gaining, up 1.26% to $111.13 in early market trading Wednesday, after the consumer products company was upgraded to "overweight" from "equal weight" by analysts at Barclays this morning.

The firm also raised its price target by a couple of dollars to $124 from $122.

Barclays analysts said the stock is trading at a discount to its peers, but performing at least equally as well.

The investment firm noted that organic sales for Kimberly-Clark held up in the first quarter on favorable pricing and volume trends.

Dallas-based Kimberly-Clark is a consumer product company with brands including Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend.

The company is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of a range of products made from natural or synthetic fibers.

It operates and markets its products globally in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with an emphasis in China, Russia and Latin America.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP (KMB) 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 notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and growth in earnings per share. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including generally higher debt management risk, weak operating cash flow and relatively poor performance when compared with the S&P 500 during the past year."

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

  • 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 Household Products industry and the overall market, KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • 39.78% is the gross profit margin for KIMBERLY-CLARK CORP which we consider to be strong. 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 9.97% trails the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 9.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $20.00 million or 95.42% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is very high at 40.06 and currently higher than the industry average, implying increased risk associated with the management of debt levels within the company. Along with this, the company manages to maintain a quick ratio of 0.46, which clearly demonstrates the inability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: KMB Ratings Report

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