NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Oceanfirst Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: OCFC) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $3.60 million or 52.90% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
- In its most recent trading session, OCFC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
- 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, OCEANFIRST FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average, but is less than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 15.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $4.40 million to $5.11 million.
- OCEANFIRST FINANCIAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 16.7% 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, OCEANFIRST FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.12 versus $1.02 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.15 versus $1.12).