NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Valero Energy (VLO - Get Report) shares are up by 1.18% to $67.66 in early market trading on Tuesday, after the energy company announced yesterday afternoon that its board approved an additional $2.5 billion for its stock buyback program.

The $2.5 billion will be added to the remaining $400 million left over from the company's current buyback program for a total $2.9 billion authorization.

Additionally, the company also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 40 cents per share, payable September 2, 2015, to shareholders of record as of August 4.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates VALERO ENERGY CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate VALERO ENERGY CORP (VLO) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

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

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 30.09% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, VLO should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • VALERO ENERGY CORP has improved earnings per share by 21.4% 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, VALERO ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $6.98 versus $4.97 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.18 versus $6.98).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income increased by 16.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $828.00 million to $964.00 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.36, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.14, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VLO Ratings Report