NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Peoples Bancorp Inc (Marietta OH (Nasdaq: PEBO) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. 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, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PEOPLES BANCORP INC/OH 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, PEOPLES BANCORP INC/OH increased its bottom line by earning $0.35 versus $0.23 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.84 versus $0.35).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 849.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.41 million to $3.92 million.
  • The gross profit margin for PEOPLES BANCORP INC/OH is currently very high, coming in at 78.00%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.40% is above that of the industry average.
  • The revenue fell significantly faster than the industry average of 22.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 17.7%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, PEOPLES BANCORP INC/OH underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.

Peoples Bancorp Inc. operates as a holding company for Peoples Bank, National Association that provides financial products and services. It offers commercial and retail banking, insurance, brokerage, and trust services. The company has a P/E ratio of 33.8, above the average banking industry P/E ratio of 32.9 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Peoples Bancorp Inc (Marietta OH has a market cap of $136.1 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 25.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

You can view the full Peoples Bancorp Inc (Marietta OH Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
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