NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Marshall & Ilsley Corp (NYSE: MI) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including poor profit margins and a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for MARSHALL & ILSLEY CORP is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 25.90%. Despite the low profit margin, it has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MI's net profit margin of -14.20% significantly underperformed when compared to the industry average.
  • MI has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 5.88% from its price level of one year ago. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • MI, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 2.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 5.0%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 2085.01% to $255.87 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, MARSHALL & ILSLEY CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -663.51%.
  • MARSHALL & ILSLEY CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, MARSHALL & ILSLEY CORP continued to lose money by earning -$1.17 versus -$2.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.24 versus -$1.17).

Marshall & Ilsley Corporation provides diversified financial services to corporate, institutional, government, and individual customers in the United States. Marshall & Ilsley has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 8.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Marshall & Ilsley Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
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