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Fifth Third Bancorp Stock Buy Recommendation Reiterated (FITB)

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) -- Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq:FITB) has been reiterated by TheStreet Ratings as a buy with a ratings score of B+ . The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

  • EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 382.12% to $663.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, FIFTH THIRD BANCORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -7.30%.
  • FIFTH THIRD BANCORP' earnings per share from the most recent quarter came in slightly below the year earlier quarter. 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, FIFTH THIRD BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.18 versus $0.61 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.63 versus $1.18).
  • The gross profit margin for FIFTH THIRD BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 89.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 21.40% trails the industry average.
  • 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, FIFTH THIRD BANCORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • 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, despite the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services holding company in the United States. Fifth Third has a market cap of $12.99 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. The company has a P/E ratio of 9.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Shares are up 13.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

--Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff.

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