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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- First Citizens Bancorp (FCZA) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from Hold to Buy with a ratings score of B.  TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate FIRST CITIZENS BANC CORP (FCZA) a BUY. This is driven by a number of strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, growth in earnings per share, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

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

  • Investors have apparently begun to recognize positive factors similar to those we have mentioned in this report, including earnings growth. This has helped drive up the company's shares by a sharp 58.23% over the past year, a rise that has exceeded that of the S&P 500 Index. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, FCZA should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • FIRST CITIZENS BANC CORP has improved earnings per share by 23.5% 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, FIRST CITIZENS BANC CORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.66 versus $0.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.85 versus $0.66).
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly outperformed against the S&P 500 and exceeded that of the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 47.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.57 million to $2.31 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 4.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.4%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: FCZA Ratings Report

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