NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gastar Exploration (AMEX: GST) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its feeble growth in its earnings per share, deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The share price of GASTAR EXPLORATION LTD has not done very well: it is down 11.36% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. 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.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $1.60 million or 78.24% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, GASTAR EXPLORATION LTD's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 120.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $9.39 million to -$1.94 million.
  • GASTAR EXPLORATION LTD has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, GASTAR EXPLORATION LTD swung to a loss, reporting -$0.25 versus $0.72 in the prior year.

Gastar Exploration Ltd., an independent energy company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of natural gas and oil primarily in the United States. Gastar has a market cap of $256.7 million and is part of the basic materials sector and energy industry. Shares are down 7.4% year to date as of the previous trading day's close.

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