NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Berkshire Hills Bancorp (Nasdaq: BHLB) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 17.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 35.6%. 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.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry average. The net income increased by 28.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $3.42 million to $4.39 million.
- The gross profit margin for BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 78.30%. 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 9.20% trails the industry average.
- Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
- BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP INC's earnings per share declined by 12.0% 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, BERKSHIRE HILLS BANCORP INC turned its bottom line around by earning $1.00 versus -$1.42 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.52 versus $1.00).