NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Fifth Third Bancorp

(Nasdaq:

FITB

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • FIFTH THIRD BANCORP's earnings per share improvement from the most recent quarter was slightly positive. 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, 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 ($1.40 versus $1.18).
  • The gross profit margin for FIFTH THIRD BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 87.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, FITB's net profit margin of 19.50% significantly trails the industry average.
  • FITB, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 8.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • 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. When compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, FIFTH THIRD BANCORP's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.

Fifth Third Bancorp operates as a diversified financial services holding company in the United States. The company's Commercial Banking segment offers banking, cash management, and financial services to large and middle-market businesses, and government and professional customers. The company has a P/E ratio of 11.3, below the average banking industry P/E ratio of 11.6 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Fifth Third has a market cap of $12.65 billion and is part of the

financial

sector and

banking

industry. Shares are up 3.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full

Fifth Third Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

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