NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Eastern American Natural Gas (NYSE: NGT) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- NGT 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. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 9.11, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
- The gross profit margin for EASTERN AMERN NATURAL GAS TR is currently very high, coming in at 85.50%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 74.50% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
- 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. In comparison to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, EASTERN AMERN NATURAL GAS TR has underperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500.
- EASTERN AMERN NATURAL GAS TR's earnings per share declined by 7.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, EASTERN AMERN NATURAL GAS TR reported lower earnings of $0.97 versus $1.10 in the prior year.
- The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed against the S&P 500 and did not exceed that of the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has decreased by 7.5% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, dropping from $1.55 million to $1.43 million.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff