Note: Our quantitative model makes stock recommendations based on GAAP figures that may differ materially from data as reported by the companies themselves. As a result, rating changes are occasionally driven by so-called nonrecurring items. As always, we urge readers to use TSC Ratings' reports in conjunction with additional information to construct their opinions on the value that should be placed on any given stock.
The following ratings changes were generated on Thursday, March 26.
We've downgraded Capital City Bank Group (CCBG - Get Report), which operates as the holding company for Capital City Bank, offering commercial and retail banking services in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, from hold to sell. This rating is driven by the company's generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in its earnings per share, disappointing return on equity and weak operating cash flow.
Capital City experienced a decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter compared with the same quarter last year, and we anticipate its two-year trend of declining EPS to continue in the coming year. The company's return on equity also decreased. Net operating cash flow fell to -$3.6 million in the most recent quarter. Net income decreased from $7.7 million to -$1.7 million.Shares have tumbled by 57.1% over the past year, underperforming the S&P 500, but based on its current price in relation to its earnings, Capital City is still more expensive than most of the other companies in its industry. We've upgraded independent investment banking company Greenhill (GHL - Get Report) from hold to buy, driven by its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. The 0.1 deb-to-equity ratio is below the industry average, implying successful management of debt levels. The 1.4 quick ratio implies an ability to avoid short-term cash problems. The 40.8% gross profit margin is strong, though it has decreased from the same period last year. Revenue fell 45.6% since the year-ago quarter, and EPS declined in the most recent quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. However, we anticipate that the company's two-year pattern of declining EPS should reverse in the coming year. Net income fell by 56% compared with the year-ago quarter, from $28.5 million to $12. 5 million.