Berkshire Hills Bancorp Inc. Stock Downgraded (BHLB)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Berkshire Hills Bancorp (Nasdaq: BHLB) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the growth in the company's net income has been quite unimpressive.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • 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 Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 44.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $3.41 million to $1.88 million.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. Compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP INC has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 76.70%. 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 4.70% trails the industry average.
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 35.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.6%. 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.

Berkshire Hills Bancorp, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services. The company has a P/E ratio of 23.7, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 23.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Berkshire Hills has a market cap of $377.5 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 0.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

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