NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Grand Canyon Education (Nasdaq: LOPE) 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, growth in earnings per share, expanding profit margins, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • LOPE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 10.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC has improved earnings per share by 26.1% 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.78 versus $0.60 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.06 versus $0.78).
  • The gross profit margin for GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC is rather high; currently it is at 59.00%. 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 11.80% trails the industry average.
  • Although LOPE's debt-to-equity ratio of 0.16 is very low, it is currently higher than that of the industry average. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.71 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • The company, on the basis of net income growth from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed compared to the Diversified Consumer Services industry average, but is greater than that of the S&P 500. The net income increased by 19.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $10.74 million to $12.87 million.

Grand Canyon Education, Inc. provides postsecondary education services in the United States. The company focuses on graduate and undergraduate degree programs primarily in the disciplines of education, business, healthcare, and liberal arts. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.7, below the average diversified services industry P/E ratio of 15.5 and below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Grand Canyon has a market cap of $688 million and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are down 22.8% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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