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TheStreet Open House

TSC Ratings' Updates: Star Gas

Stocks in this article: ATHN ELP SGU

Net income decreased by 48.3% compared with the same quarter a year ago, falling from $160.86 million to $83.18 million and underperforming both the S&P 500 and the electric utilities industry. Net operating cash flow has decreased to $165.57 million, or by 35.1%, and the firm's growth rate is much lower than the industry average. Revenue fell by 45.7%, significantly underperforming the industry average of 9.2%, and EPS declined.

We've downgraded uniform retailer Superior Uniform Group (SGC - Get Report) from buy to hold. Strengths include its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and attractive valuation levels. However, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income and a decline in the stock price during the past year.

Revenue increased by 0.7% since the same quarter a year ago, though EPS declined. The company's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.06 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying very successful management of debt levels. SUG's 35.4% gross profit margin is strong, but it's 3.2% net profit margin trails the industry average. Net income decreased by 19.7%, dropping from $1.2 million to $1 million, underperforming the commercial services and supplies industry but outperforming the S&P 500.

Shares are down 27.8% on the past year, likely due in part to the decline of the overall market, which was sharper, as well as to SUG's weak EPS results. The stock's decline should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.

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