NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Astoria Financial Corporation

(NYSE:

AF

) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The gross profit margin for ASTORIA FINANCIAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 53.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 6.60% is above that of the industry average.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 24.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.7%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The change in net income from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income has significantly decreased by 50.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $23.81 million to $11.76 million.
  • 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ASTORIA FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.

.

Astoria Financial Corporation operates as the bank holding company for Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association that provides various banking and financial products and services in the United States. It engages in generating deposits and originating loans. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.6, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 11 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Astoria Financial has a market cap of $911.5 million and is part of the

financial

sector and

banking

industry. Shares are up 9.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full

Astoria Financial Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

investment research center

.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff

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