The following ratings changes were generated on Thursday, Jan. 22.
We've upgraded Automatic Data Processing (ADP), which provides technology-based outsourcing solutions to employers, vehicle retailers and manufacturers, from hold to buy, driven by its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth, notable return on equity, reasonable valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses that are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.
Revenue increased by 9.5% since the year-ago quarter, and earnings per share are up 20%. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive EPS growth over the past two years, and we feel that this trend should continue. Return on equity has improved slightly when compared with the same quarter one year prior, which can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. Net operating cash flow has increased to $398.20 million, or 44% when compared with the same quarter last year.
We've downgraded Bank of Hawaii (BOH) from buy to hold. Strengths include its expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share and notable return on equity. However, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow and a decline in the stock price during the past year.Bank of Hawaii's gross profit margin of 74% is very high, having increased from the same quarter last year, and its net profit margin of 25% significantly outperformed against the industry average. EPS improved slightly in the most recent quarter. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years, which we feel should continue.
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