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) -- United States Cellular Corporation (NYSE:USM) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.
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- USM's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.4%. 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.
- USM's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.24 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.23, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- The gross profit margin for US CELLULAR CORP is rather high; currently it is at 52.40%. Regardless of USM's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, USM's net profit margin of -3.55% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
- The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Wireless Telecommunication Services industry and the overall market, US CELLULAR CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- The share price of US CELLULAR CORP has not done very well: it is down 14.36% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when 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.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff
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