NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Great Southern Bancorp (Nasdaq: GSBC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins, growth in earnings per share, attractive valuation levels 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:
  • GSBC, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 4.2%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • GREAT SOUTHERN BANCORP has improved earnings per share by 21.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, GREAT SOUTHERN BANCORP reported lower earnings of $1.46 versus $4.49 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.49 versus $1.46).
  • The gross profit margin for GREAT SOUTHERN BANCORP is rather high; currently it is at 62.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 13.00% trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 326.36% to $22.44 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GREAT SOUTHERN BANCORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -686.71%.

Great Southern Bancorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Great Southern Bank that offers banking products and services to household consumers and businesses in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. The company has a P/E ratio of 14.7, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 16.3. Great Southern has a market cap of $288.6 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 7.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Great Southern Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
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