NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Interstate Bancsystem (Nasdaq:FIBK) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 30.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- FIRST INTERSTATE BANCSYSTEM has improved earnings per share by 30.0% 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, FIRST INTERSTATE BANCSYSTEM increased its bottom line by earning $0.96 versus $0.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.11 versus $0.96).
- 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, implying reduced upside potential.
- 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, FIRST INTERSTATE BANCSYSTEM's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $28.29 million or 57.35% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff
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