The S&P 500 will likely "tread water" in 2016 -- for the second year in a row, according to Goldman Sachs.

The investment firm projects that the S&P 500 will end 2016 at 2100 -- a mere 1% gain from the S&P's current level of 2089. Including dividends, Goldman Sachs expects the total return will equal 3% next year.

So what does that mean for stock picking? In 2016, themes that will dominate the markets include higher interest rates as the Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise the federal funds rate for the first time in nine years at its December 16 meeting. Equity investors should consider companies with strong balance sheets that will outperform those with weak balance sheets, Goldman says.

The market will also be divided next year. "The S&P 500 index will be flat in 2016, but differentiated performance will occur along clear lines," the note said.

"Divergent monetary policies (Fed tightening vs. [European Central Bank] and [Bank of Japan] easing) will strengthen the U.S. dollar and benefit some stocks and harm others. The domestic consumer economy is strong but many industrial companies cite a contraction in business activity. Growth equities are outperforming value which is a pattern that occurs when economic growth is weak. Cyclicals have lagged sharply led by Energy and Materials but defensive sectors trade at stretched valuations," Goldman said.

As a result, stocks with high sales in the U.S. will outperform those with significant international sales. As well "growth should outperform value given muted economic growth," the note said.

Goldman analysts prefer mega-cap stocks (those as part of the S&P 100). "In addition, mega-cap stocks (constituents in the S&P 100 index) should continue to outperform in the current environment of narrow market breadth," the note said.

Finally, companies that are able to drive margin growth will outperform those that cannot. "Given rising labor and health care costs, firms in most industries will struggle to simply maintain margins," the note said. "Investors will reward firms able to demonstrate a path to higher sales and margins."

The Goldman analysts listed 35 S&P 500 stocks that currently meet at least two of this recommended investment criteria, i.e., strong balance sheets, high U.S. sales, Goldman Sachs analysts' projections of at least 50 basis points of margin expansion in 2016 and 2017 and revenue growth greater than nominal U.S. GDP growth (roughly 4%) and a part of the S&P 100.

Here's the list, along with ratings from TheStreet Ratings for additional perspective. To be sure, not all of the stocks have "buy" ratings by Goldman Sachs.

TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equity market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 16.56% return in 2014, beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a buy yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Note: Year-to-date returns are based on Nov. 23 closing prices.

AMZN Chart AMZN data by YCharts

1. Amazon.com (AMZN - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Internet Retail
Year-to-date return: 119%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $760
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates AMAZON.COM INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate AMAZON.COM INC (AMZN) 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 compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing.

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

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Internet & Catalog Retail industry average. The net income increased by 118.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$437.00 million to $79.00 million.
  • AMZN's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMAZON.COM INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AMAZON.COM INC swung to a loss, reporting -$0.54 versus $0.58 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.92 versus -$0.54).
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 117.89% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 102.50% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, however, we cannot assume that the stock's past performance is going to drive future results. Quite to the contrary, its sharp appreciation over the last year is one of the factors that should prompt investors to seek better opportunities elsewhere.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, AMAZON.COM INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMZN

 

CMG Chart CMG data by YCharts

2. Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Restaurants
Year-to-date return: -18.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $700
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC (CMG) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC has improved earnings per share by 10.6% 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, CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC increased its bottom line by earning $14.13 versus $10.46 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($17.31 versus $14.13).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry average. The net income increased by 10.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $130.80 million to $144.88 million.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has exceeded that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 28.31%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 11.90% trails that of the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CMG

LOW Chart LOW data by YCharts

3. Lowe's Companies Inc. (LOW - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Home Improvement Retail
Year-to-date return: 11.4%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $89
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates LOWE'S COMPANIES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate LOWE'S COMPANIES INC (LOW) 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 revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and reasonable valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • LOW's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 4.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • LOWE'S COMPANIES INC has improved earnings per share by 35.6% 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, LOWE'S COMPANIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.70 versus $2.13 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.29 versus $2.70).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Specialty Retail industry average. The net income increased by 25.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $585.00 million to $736.00 million.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LOW

 

PCLN Chart PCLN data by YCharts

4. Priceline Group (PCLN)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Internet Retail
Year-to-date return: 8.4%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $1500
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates PRICELINE GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate PRICELINE GROUP INC (PCLN) 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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

  • PCLN's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.64, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. To add to this, PCLN has a quick ratio of 2.49, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity 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. Compared to other companies in the Internet & Catalog Retail industry and the overall market, PRICELINE GROUP INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for PRICELINE GROUP INC is currently very high, coming in at 94.54%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 38.56% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: PCLN

SBUX Chart SBUX data by YCharts

5. Starbucks Corp. (SBUX - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Restaurants
Year-to-date return: 52.7%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $69
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates STARBUCKS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate STARBUCKS CORP (SBUX) 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 robust revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 1.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • 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 57.95% 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, SBUX should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • STARBUCKS CORP has improved earnings per share by 11.7% 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, STARBUCKS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.82 versus $1.36 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.89 versus $1.82).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry average. The net income increased by 11.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $587.80 million to $652.50 million.
  • 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 Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure industry and the overall market, STARBUCKS CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SBUX

 

TRIP Chart TRIP data by YCharts

6. TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Internet Retail
Year-to-date return: 13.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $68
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates TRIPADVISOR INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate TRIPADVISOR INC (TRIP) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • TRIPADVISOR INC has improved earnings per share by 37.8% 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, TRIPADVISOR INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.56 versus $1.41 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.96 versus $1.56).
  • TRIP's revenue growth trails the industry average of 38.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • TRIP's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.56, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for TRIPADVISOR INC is currently very high, coming in at 95.90%. Regardless of TRIP's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, TRIP's net profit margin of 17.83% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TRIP

TWX Chart TWX data by YCharts

7. Time Warner Inc. (TWX)
Industry: Consumer Goods & Services/Movies & Entertainment
Year-to-date return: -17.4%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $82
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates TIME WARNER INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate TIME WARNER INC (TWX) a BUY. This is driven by several positive factors, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, 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 has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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

  • TIME WARNER INC has improved earnings per share by 13.5% 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, TIME WARNER INC increased its bottom line by earning $4.39 versus $3.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.67 versus $4.39).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Media industry. The net income increased by 7.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $967.00 million to $1,035.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.97, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.08, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TWX

 

EL Chart EL data by YCharts

8. Estee Lauder Companies (EL - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Personal Products
Year-to-date return: 12%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $99
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates LAUDER (ESTEE) COS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate LAUDER (ESTEE) COS INC (EL) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, increase in net income and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 28.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.7%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.59, 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 1.07, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Personal Products industry and the overall market, LAUDER (ESTEE) COS 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 Personal Products industry. The net income increased by 35.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $228.10 million to $309.30 million.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: EL

 

HRL Chart HRL data by YCharts

9. Hormel Foods Corp. (HRL - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Packaged Foods & Meats
Year-to-date return: 33%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $61
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates HORMEL FOODS CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate HORMEL FOODS CORP (HRL) 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, growth in earnings per share, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. 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:

  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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.
  • HORMEL FOODS CORP has improved earnings per share by 5.9% 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, HORMEL FOODS CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.23 versus $1.94 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.61 versus $2.23).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 104.89% to $244.51 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HORMEL FOODS CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -20.72%.
  • HRL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.15 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 0.73 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: HRL

 

MNST Chart MNST data by YCharts

10. Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Soft Drinks
Year-to-date return: 18.5%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $170
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP (MNST) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 11.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • MNST has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 6.58, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP has improved earnings per share by 20.0% 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, MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.78 versus $1.96 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.08 versus $2.78).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Beverages industry. The net income increased by 43.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $121.60 million to $174.57 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MONSTER BEVERAGE CORP is rather high; currently it is at 62.65%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 23.07% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MNST

MO Chart MO data by YCharts

11. Altria Group Inc. (MO - Get Report)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Tobacco
Year-to-date return: 17%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $63
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates ALTRIA GROUP INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate ALTRIA GROUP INC (MO) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income and good cash flow from operations. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 14.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 4.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • ALTRIA GROUP INC has improved earnings per share by 9.8% 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, ALTRIA GROUP INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.26 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.81 versus $2.57).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Tobacco industry average. The net income increased by 9.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $1,397.00 million to $1,528.00 million.
  • 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 Tobacco industry and the overall market, ALTRIA GROUP INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $2,843.00 million or 23.55% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -5.13%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MO
WFM Chart WFM data by YCharts

12. Whole Foods Market Inc. (WFM)
Industry: Consumer Non-Discretionary/Food Retail
Year-to-date return: -41.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $31
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC (WFM) 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and weak operating cash flow.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 12.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • WFM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.02 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Despite the fact that WFM's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.59, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • 37.64% is the gross profit margin for WHOLE FOODS MARKET INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of WFM's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 1.65% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $132.00 million or 42.35% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 37.36%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 54.28% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Although its share price is down sharply from a year ago, do not assume that it can now be tagged as cheap and attractive. The reality is that, based on its current price in relation to its earnings, WFM is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFM

 

MPC Chart MPC data by YCharts

13. Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC - Get Report)
Industry: Energy/Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing
Year-to-date return: 25%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $62
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP (MPC) 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, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. 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.
  • MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP has improved earnings per share by 49.1% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP increased its bottom line by earning $4.42 versus $3.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($6.02 versus $4.42).
  • 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 41.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $672.00 million to $948.00 million.
  • 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, MARATHON PETROLEUM CORP's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MPC

 

SLB Chart SLB data by YCharts

14. Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB - Get Report)
Industry: Energy/Oil & Gas Equipment & Services
Year-to-date return: -9.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: not rated
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates SCHLUMBERGER LTD as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate SCHLUMBERGER LTD (SLB) 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. Among the primary strengths of the company is its solid financial position based on a variety of debt and liquidity measures that we have evaluated. At the same time, however, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

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

  • SLB, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 30.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 33.0%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Regardless of the somewhat mixed results with the debt-to-equity ratio, the company's quick ratio of 1.14 is sturdy.
  • The gross profit margin for SCHLUMBERGER LTD is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 30.97%. Regardless of SLB's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SLB's net profit margin of 11.67% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • The share price of SCHLUMBERGER LTD has not done very well: it is down 17.98% 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.
  • SCHLUMBERGER LTD's earnings per share declined by 47.6% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SCHLUMBERGER LTD reported lower earnings of $4.30 versus $5.11 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 21.7% in earnings ($3.37 versus $4.30).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SLB

 

USB Chart USB data by YCharts

15. U.S. Bancorp (USB - Get Report)
Industry: Financial Services/Diversified Banks
Year-to-date return: -2.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $46
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates U S BANCORP as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate U S BANCORP (USB) 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 revenue growth, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • USB's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.7%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 390.37% to $2,854.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, U S BANCORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 312.99%.
  • U S BANCORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, U S BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $3.08 versus $3.01 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.16 versus $3.08).
  • The gross profit margin for U S BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 88.41%. 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 27.35% trails the industry average.
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that USB's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: USB

  

WFC Chart WFC data by YCharts

16. Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC - Get Report)
Industry: Financial Services/Diversified Banks
Year-to-date return: 1.4%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $58
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates WELLS FARGO & CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate WELLS FARGO & CO (WFC) 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 revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, solid stock price performance, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • WFC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.8%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • WELLS FARGO & CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, WELLS FARGO & CO increased its bottom line by earning $4.10 versus $3.89 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.16 versus $4.10).
  • After a year of stock price fluctuations, the net result is that WFC's price has not changed very much. Although its weak earnings growth may have played a role in this flat result, don't lose sight of the fact that the performance of the overall market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, was essentially similar. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $18,937.00 million or 25.72% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 25.72%, WELLS FARGO & CO is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 312.99%.
  • The gross profit margin for WELLS FARGO & CO is currently very high, coming in at 92.60%. Regardless of WFC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 25.35% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WFC

 

AMGN Chart AMGN data by YCharts

17. Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Biotechnology
Year-to-date return: 2%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $213
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates AMGEN INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate AMGEN INC (AMGN) 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 revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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

  • AMGN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 13.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • AMGEN INC 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, AMGEN INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.70 versus $6.65 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($10.06 versus $6.70).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Biotechnology industry average. The net income increased by 49.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1,244.00 million to $1,863.00 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $2,874.00 million or 4.85% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AMGEN INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 1.29%.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AMGN

 

BIIB Chart BIIB data by YCharts

18 .Biogen Inc. (BIIB - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Biotechnology
Year-to-date return: -13.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $266
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates BIOGEN INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate BIOGEN INC (BIIB) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, revenue growth, 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 weak operating cash flow.

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

  • BIOGEN INC has improved earnings per share by 14.6% 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, BIOGEN INC increased its bottom line by earning $12.39 versus $7.82 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($16.49 versus $12.39).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Biotechnology industry average. The net income increased by 12.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $856.86 million to $965.62 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 13.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.62, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.84, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Biotechnology industry and the overall market, BIOGEN INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BIIB

 

BMY Chart BMY data by YCharts

19. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Pharmaceuticals
Year-to-date return: 15.2%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $80
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO (BMY) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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

  • BMY's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 3.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.48, 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.
  • BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past year. However, we anticipate this trend reversing over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO reported lower earnings of $1.20 versus $1.55 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.90 versus $1.20).
  • The gross profit margin for BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB CO is currently very high, coming in at 77.81%. Regardless of BMY's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BMY's net profit margin of 17.35% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: BMY

 

CELG Chart CELG data by YCharts

20. Celgene Corp. (CELG - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Biotechnology
Year-to-date return: 1.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Sell, $97
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates CELGENE CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate CELGENE CORP (CELG) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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

  • CELG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 13.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.8%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • 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 Biotechnology industry and the overall market, CELGENE CORP's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for CELGENE CORP is currently very high, coming in at 96.58%. 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 -1.46% is in-line with the industry average.
  • CELGENE CORP 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. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CELGENE CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.40 versus $1.69 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($4.82 versus $2.40).
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CELG

 

GILD Chart GILD data by YCharts

21. Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Get Report)
Industry: Health Care/Biotechnology
Year-to-date return: 12.8%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $102
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates GILEAD SCIENCES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate GILEAD SCIENCES INC (GILD) 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 robust revenue growth, notable return on equity, attractive valuation levels, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 13.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 37.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • GILEAD SCIENCES INC 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, GILEAD SCIENCES INC increased its bottom line by earning $7.38 versus $1.83 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($12.19 versus $7.38).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Biotechnology industry. The net income increased by 68.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2,731.27 million to $4,600.00 million.
  • 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 Biotechnology industry and the overall market, GILEAD SCIENCES INC's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GILD
MMM Chart MMM data by YCharts

22. 3M Co. (MMM - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Industrial Conglomerates
Year-to-date return: -0.91%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $157
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates 3M CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate 3M CO (MMM) 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 notable return on equity, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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 Industrial Conglomerates industry and the overall market, 3M CO's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for 3M CO is rather high; currently it is at 54.33%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.80% is above that of the industry average.
  • 3M CO's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, 3M CO increased its bottom line by earning $7.49 versus $6.72 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($7.62 versus $7.49).
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.92, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.91 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • MMM, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MMM

 

NSC Chart NSC data by YCharts

23. Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC - Get Report)
Industry: Industrials/Railroads
Year-to-date return: -12.8%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $85
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP (NSC) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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

  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.81, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Despite the fact that NSC's debt-to-equity ratio is low, the quick ratio, which is currently 0.65, displays a potential problem in covering short-term cash needs.
  • 40.80% is the gross profit margin for NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP which we consider to be strong. Regardless of NSC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 16.66% trails the industry average.
  • NSC, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 9.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 10.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP's earnings per share declined by 16.8% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, NORFOLK SOUTHERN CORP increased its bottom line by earning $6.39 versus $6.04 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 17.4% in earnings ($5.28 versus $6.39).
  • Reflecting the weaknesses we have cited, including the decline in the company's earnings per share, NSC has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 15.91% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: NSC

 

ADBE Chart ADBE data by YCharts

24. Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Application Software
Year-to-date return: 26.4%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $79
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates ADOBE SYSTEMS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate ADOBE SYSTEMS INC (ADBE) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 15.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 21.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although ADBE's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.28 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. To add to this, ADBE has a quick ratio of 2.07, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Software industry. The net income increased by 290.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $44.69 million to $174.47 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $360.49 million or 34.24% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -8.89%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 277.77% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 29.56% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ADBE

 

AKAM Chart AKAM data by YCharts

25. Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Internet Software & Services
Year-to-date return: -9.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Sell, $56
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC (AKAM) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

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

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Although AKAM's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.20 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.11, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $182.61 million or 5.38% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 3.03%.
  • AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AKAMAI TECHNOLOGIES INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.84 versus $1.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.43 versus $1.84).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: AKAM


CTSH Chart CTSH data by YCharts

26. Cognizant Tech Solutions (CTSH - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/IT Consulting & Other Services
Year-to-date return: 22%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $78
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS (CTSH) 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 robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, solid stock price performance and growth in earnings per share. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 27.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • CTSH's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.11 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 3.10, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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.
  • COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS has improved earnings per share by 12.1% 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, COGNIZANT TECH SOLUTIONS increased its bottom line by earning $2.35 versus $2.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.04 versus $2.35).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CTSH

 

FB Chart FB data by YCharts

27. Facebook Inc. (FB - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Internet Software & Services
Year-to-date return: 37%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $125
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates FACEBOOK INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate FACEBOOK INC (FB) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. 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, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 40.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • FB's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.00 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 9.96, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 75.64% to $2,192.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FACEBOOK INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 3.03%.
  • FACEBOOK INC's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, FACEBOOK INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.10 versus $0.59 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.17 versus $1.10).
  • The gross profit margin for FACEBOOK INC is currently very high, coming in at 94.80%. 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 19.90% trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FB
GOOGL Chart GOOGL data by YCharts

28. Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Internet Software & Services
Year-to-date return: 46.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $850
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates ALPHABET INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate ALPHABET INC (GOOGL) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and reasonable valuation levels. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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

  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Internet Software & Services industry average. The net income increased by 45.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2,739.00 million to $3,979.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 15.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 13.0%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although GOOGL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 4.51, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 34.82% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 38.87% 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, GOOGL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: GOOGL

INTU Chart INTU data by YCharts

29. Intuit Inc. (INTU - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Application Software
Year-to-date return: 9.6%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Conviction Sell, n/a
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates INTUIT INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate INTUIT INC (INTU) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, increase in net income, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company is trading at a premium valuation based on our review of its current price compared to such things as earnings and book value.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 15.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 16.5%. 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 Software industry and the overall market, INTUIT 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 Software industry. The net income increased by 63.1% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$84.00 million to -$31.00 million.
  • The gross profit margin for INTUIT INC is currently very high, coming in at 84.15%. 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 -4.34% is in-line with the industry average.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: INTU

 

MA Chart MA data by YCharts

30. MasterCard Inc. (MA - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Data Processing & Outsourced Services
Year-to-date return: 15.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $112
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates MASTERCARD INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate MASTERCARD INC (MA) 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 27.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • MA's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.24 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.29, 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. When compared to other companies in the IT Services industry and the overall market, MASTERCARD 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 MASTERCARD INC is rather high; currently it is at 60.95%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 38.61% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • MASTERCARD INC' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MASTERCARD INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.09 versus $2.57 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.35 versus $3.09).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: MA
PYPL Chart PYPL data by YCharts

31. PayPal Holdings (PYPL - Get Report)
Industry: Technology
Return from July 20 (split from eBay): -12.1%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $45
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: no rating available yet

TXN Chart TXN data by YCharts

32. Texas Instruments (TXN - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Semiconductors
Year-to-date return: 7.3%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $52
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC (TXN) 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 largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.

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

  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.41, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels. To add to this, TXN has a quick ratio of 1.69, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment industry and the overall market, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $1,409.00 million or 1.87% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -21.80%.
  • TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.58 versus $1.92 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.72 versus $2.58).
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. 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.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: TXN

 

V Chart V data by YCharts

33. Visa Inc. (V - Get Report)
Industry: Technology/Data Processing & Outsourced Services
Year-to-date return: 22.2%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $86
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates VISA INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate VISA INC (V) 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 revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

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

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 27.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.6%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • V has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign. To add to this, V has a quick ratio of 1.74, which demonstrates the ability of the company to cover short-term liquidity needs.
  • VISA INC has improved earnings per share by 44.2% 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, VISA INC increased its bottom line by earning $2.57 versus $2.15 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.88 versus $2.57).
  • The gross profit margin for VISA INC is rather high; currently it is at 67.57%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 42.34% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 44.18% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 28.30% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. We feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The other strengths this company shows, however, justify the higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: V

VMC Chart VMC data by YCharts


34. Vulcan Materials Co. (VMC - Get Report)

Industry: Materials/Construction Materials
Year-to-date return: 60%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Buy, $115
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: high U.S. sales, margin expansion of at least 50 basis points in 2016 and 2017

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates VULCAN MATERIALS CO as a Buy with a ratings score of A+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate VULCAN MATERIALS CO (VMC) 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 revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 8.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.9%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • VULCAN MATERIALS CO 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, VULCAN MATERIALS CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.56 versus $0.16 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.09 versus $1.56).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Construction Materials industry average. The net income increased by 85.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $66.94 million to $123.81 million.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 70.86% to $216.70 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, VULCAN MATERIALS CO has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 63.17%.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 82.35% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 54.79% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VMC
VZ Chart VZ data by YCharts

35. Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ - Get Report)
Industry: Telecom/Integrated Telecommunication Services
Year-to-date return: -3.8%

Goldman Sachs Rating/Price Target: Neutral, $49
2016 Recommended Investment Criteria Buckets: strong balance sheet, high U.S. sales, part of the S&P 100

TheStreet Said: TheStreet Ratings team rates VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC as a Buy with a ratings score of B. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC (VZ) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its increase in net income, revenue growth, growth in earnings per share, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.

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

  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry average. The net income increased by 9.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $3,695.00 million to $4,038.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 9.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.0%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC has improved earnings per share by 11.2% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC reported lower earnings of $2.51 versus $4.00 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($3.97 versus $2.51).
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $9,520.00 million or 13.97% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 15.08%.
  • The gross profit margin for VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS INC is rather high; currently it is at 59.87%. 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 12.17% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: VZ