NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Boston Private Financial Holdings (Nasdaq: BPFH) 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, solid stock price performance and attractive valuation levels. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- BOSTON PRIVATE FINL HOLDINGS 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BOSTON PRIVATE FINL HOLDINGS turned its bottom line around by earning $0.38 versus -$0.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.56 versus $0.38).
- 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 231.2% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from -$9.96 million to $13.06 million.
- The gross profit margin for BOSTON PRIVATE FINL HOLDINGS is currently very high, coming in at 88.90%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, BPFH's net profit margin of 15.40% significantly trails the industry average.
- Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.