NEW YORK (

TheStreet

)

-- Valley National Bancorp

(NYSE:

VLY

) 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, revenue growth, expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:

  • VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP has improved earnings per share by 10.2% 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, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP increased its bottom line by earning $0.77 versus $0.59 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.84 versus $0.77).
  • VLY's revenue growth trails the industry average of 20.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 70.00%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 18.40% is above that of the industry average.
  • 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. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 8.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $32.64 million to $35.36 million.

Valley National Bancorp operates as the bank holding company for Valley National Bank that provides a range of commercial, retail, trust, and investment services. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.8, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 14.4 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Valley has a market cap of $2.1 billion and is part of the

financial

sector and

banking

industry. Shares are down 11.3% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full

Valley Ratings Report

or get investment ideas from our

investment research center

.

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