NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE: SYA) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • In its most recent trading session, SYA 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. 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.
  • The gross profit margin for SYMETRA FINANCIAL CORP is rather low; currently it is at 18.80%. Regardless of SYA's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SYA's net profit margin of 12.10% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • SYMETRA FINANCIAL CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SYMETRA FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.47 versus $0.28 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 3.7% in earnings ($1.42 versus $1.47).
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $237.10 million or 4.35% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 4.35%, SYMETRA FINANCIAL CORP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 82.65%.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Insurance industry average. The net income increased by 65.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $35.80 million to $59.40 million.

Symetra Financial Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial services company in the life insurance industry in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 6.3, equal to the average insurance industry P/E ratio and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Symetra Financial has a market cap of $1.3 billion and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are down 24.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

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