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Stein Mart Stock Upgraded (SMRT)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stein Mart (Nasdaq: SMRT) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. 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 attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • STEIN MART INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. 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, STEIN MART INC reported lower earnings of $0.44 versus $1.09 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.48 versus $0.44).
  • SMRT, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 2.5%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 28.22%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 69.04% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp decline over the past year may have been what was needed in order to bring its value into alignment with its fundamentals and others in its industry.
  • The gross profit margin for STEIN MART INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 26.80%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 1.70% trails that of the industry average.
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Stein Mart, Inc. operates retail stores that offer fashion merchandise for women and men in the United States. The company's stores provide fashion apparel, accessories, shoes, and home fashions. As of April 19, 2011, it operated a chain of 263 retail stores. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.7, below the average retail industry P/E ratio of 9.8 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Stein Mart has a market cap of $306 million and is part of the services sector and retail industry. Shares are down 5.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Stein Mart Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff

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