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First PacTrust Bancorp Inc. Stock Upgraded (BANC)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First PacTrust Bancorp (Nasdaq: BANC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 20.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.4%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $6.68 million or 42.31% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -16.42%.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 80.20%. Regardless of BANC's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, BANC's net profit margin of 3.50% is significantly lower than the same period one year prior.
  • FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP 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, FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.25 versus $0.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.40 versus -$0.25).
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 29.77%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 100.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it is one of the factors that makes this stock an attractive investment.

First Pactrust Bancorp, Inc. operates as a holding company for Pacific Trust Bank that provides retail banking services primarily in San Diego and Riverside Counties, California. First PacTrust has a market cap of $126.5 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 19.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full First PacTrust 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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