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Why Autobytel (ABTL) Stock Is Up Today

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Autobytel Inc. (ABTL - Get Report) shares were up 23% to $14.80 in trading Wednesday. The bump comes following the automotive marketing company's increased first quarter guidance.

Autobytel said it expects total revenue growth of 45% to 47% -- with additional revenue from its recent acquisition of AutoUSA -- in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. Excluding the AutoUSA numbers, Autobytel expects revenue growth between 22% and 24% for the first quarter period.

Additionally, the company expects and EPS of 3 cents per share for the quarter, while noting that the EPS is negatively affected by a one-time cost associated with the recent acquisition.

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TheStreet Ratings team rates AUTOBYTEL INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AUTOBYTEL INC (ABTL) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's earnings per share has not been good."

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Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • ABTL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 16.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 22.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Although ABTL's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.14 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 2.56, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Internet Software & Services industry. The net income increased by 10169.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.35 million to $36.15 million.
  • AUTOBYTEL INC 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, AUTOBYTEL INC increased its bottom line by earning $3.47 versus $0.19 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 90.8% in earnings ($0.32 versus $3.47).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ABTL Ratings Report
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