NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Valero Energy (VLO - Get Report) stock is falling 6.39% to $62.98 in midday trading on Friday, as oil prices slip due to a slowdown in China's manufacturing sector.

WTI crude is down 2.86% to $40.14 per barrel, while Brent is declining 2.92% to $45.26 per barrel this afternoon, according to the CNBC.com index.

The factory sector in China, the largest oil consumer in the world, shrank the most in more than six years in August, Reuters reports.

Additionally, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries continues to pump oil at high levels in order to maintain its market share and oil inventories in the U.S. are increasing.

"The only silver lining we are seeing coming from the United States is that refining rates remain high and that crude production continues to fall," Daniel Ang from Philip Futures told Reuters.

San Antonio-based Valero Energy refines crude oil, markets branded products and distributes gasoline and diesel.

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 notable return on equity. 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:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 118.03% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 35.74% 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, 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 reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 ($8.02 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 129.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $588.00 million to $1,351.00 million.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.34, 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 1.17, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, VALERO ENERGY CORP's return on equity exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VLO Ratings Report