NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Datawatch Corporation (Nasdaq: DWCH) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and expanding profit margins. 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:
  • DWCH has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
  • Compared to its closing price of one year ago, DWCH's share price has jumped by 137.33%, exceeding the performance of the broader market during that same time frame. Setting our sights on the months ahead, however, we feel that the stock's sharp appreciation over the last year has driven it to a price level which is now relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. The implication is that its reduced upside potential is not good enough to warrant further investment at this time.
  • DATAWATCH CORP's earnings per share declined by 25.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, DATAWATCH CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $0.06 versus -$0.84 in the prior year. This year, the market expects earnings to be in line with last year ($0.06 versus $0.06).
  • 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. In comparison to the other companies in the Software industry and the overall market, DATAWATCH CORP's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of 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 Software industry. The net income has decreased by 4.0% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $0.22 million to $0.21 million.

Datawatch Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and supports business computer software products primarily in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company has a P/E ratio of 89.5, below the average computer software & services industry P/E ratio of 107.4 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Datawatch has a market cap of $33.1 million and is part of the technology sector and computer software & services industry. Shares are up 54.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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