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Midsouth Bancorp Stock Downgraded (MSL)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Midsouth Bancorp (AMEX: MSL) 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, compelling growth in net income and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 29.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 30.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 289.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.74 million to $2.89 million.
  • MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC reported lower earnings of $0.27 versus $0.47 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.96 versus $0.27).
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • MSL is off 7.29% from its price level of one year ago, reflecting the general market trend and ignoring their higher earnings per share compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, we do not see anything in this company's numbers that would change the one-year trend. It was down over the last twelve months; and it could be down again in the next twelve. Naturally, a bull or bear market could sway the movement of this stock.

Midsouth Bancorp, Inc. operates as a bank holding company for MidSouth Bank, N.A. that provides various banking services to commercial and retail customers in south Louisiana and southeast Texas. The company has a P/E ratio of 28.7, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Midsouth has a market cap of $137.9 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 1.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full Midsouth Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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