NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- National Western Life Insurance (Nasdaq: NWLI) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its growth in earnings per share, increase in net income, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, attractive valuation levels and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- NATIONAL WESTERN LIFE has improved earnings per share by 43.2% 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. During the past fiscal year, NATIONAL WESTERN LIFE increased its bottom line by earning $20.04 versus $12.51 in the prior year.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Insurance industry. The net income increased by 43.3% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13.44 million to $19.26 million.
- NWLI has no debt to speak of therefore resulting in a debt-to-equity ratio of zero, which we consider to be a relatively favorable sign.
- Net operating cash flow has increased to $81.90 million or 44.43% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, NATIONAL WESTERN LIFE has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -13.95%.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff