NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- FBL Financial Group (NYSE: FFG) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 66.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $30.99 million to $51.63 million.
- Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, reflecting both the market's overall trend during that period and the fact that the company's earnings growth has been robust. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
- The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.32, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
- FFG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 19.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.2%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.