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First BanCorp Stock Upgraded (FBP)

Editor's Note: 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

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- First BanCorp (NYSE: FBP) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth and compelling growth in net income. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that revenues have generally been declining.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 104.80% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 46.57% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • FIRST BANCORP P R reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 BANCORP P R continued to lose money by earning -$2.81 versus -$42.45 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.08 versus -$2.81).
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST BANCORP P R is rather high; currently it is at 58.40%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 5.60% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $33.32 million or 7.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, FIRST BANCORP P R's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 11.42%.
  • FBP, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 16.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.8%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.

First Bancorp operates as the holding company for FirstBank Puerto Rico that provides a range of financial products and services to retail, commercial, and institutional clients. The company has a P/E ratio of 0.8, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. First BanCorp has a market cap of $900.8 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 28.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

Editor's Note: 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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