NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Metro Bancorp (Nasdaq: METR) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. Among the areas we feel are negative, one of the most important has been a generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • METR's stock share price has done very poorly compared to where it was a year ago: Despite any rallies, the net result is that it is down by 28.37%, which is also worse that the performance of the S&P 500 Index. Investors have so far failed to pay much attention to the earnings improvements the company has managed to achieve over the last quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and greatly underperformed compared to the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 7.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from -$6.16 million to -$5.72 million.
  • 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, METRO BANCORP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
  • METR, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 22.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 0.6%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • METRO BANCORP INC has improved earnings per share by 10.9% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, METRO BANCORP INC reported poor results of -$0.34 versus -$0.23 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$0.01 versus -$0.34).

Metro Bancorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Metro Bank, which provides a range of retail and commercial banking services to consumers and small and mid-sized companies in Pennsylvania. Metro has a market cap of $118.1 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are down 26.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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