NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Carriage Services

(NYSE:

CSV

) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally poor debt management on most measures that we evaluated.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 5.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.6%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The stock has not only risen over the past year, it has done so at a faster pace than the S&P 500, reflecting the earnings growth and other positive factors similar to those we have cited here. 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.
  • CARRIAGE SERVICES INC has improved earnings per share by 7.7% 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. During the past fiscal year, CARRIAGE SERVICES INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.46 versus $0.40 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.57 versus $0.46).
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $12.18 million or 5.03% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of -37.24%.

Carriage Services, Inc. provides death care services and merchandise in the United States. It operates through two segments, Funeral Home Operations and Cemetery Operations. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.5, above the average diversified services industry P/E ratio of 12.2 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Carriage Services has a market cap of $110.1 million and is part of the

TheStreet Recommends

services

sector and

diversified services

industry. Shares are up 17.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full

Carriage Services Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

investment research center

.

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