NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Independence Holding Company (NYSE: IHC) 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, solid stock price performance, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 272.98% to $2.54 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, INDEPENDENCE HOLDING CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 5.69%.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, IHC's share price has jumped by 62.01%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Turning to the future, naturally, any stock can fall in a major bear market. However, in almost any other environment, the stock should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed nice gains in the past year.
  • IHC's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.19 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • IHC's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 8.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 18.2%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.

Independence Holding Company, through its subsidiaries, engages in the life and health insurance business in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The company has a P/E ratio of 17.9, below the average insurance industry P/E ratio of 18.5 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Independence Holding has a market cap of $169.9 million and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 32.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

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