NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Metro Bancorp (Nasdaq: METR) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. 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 and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- METRO BANCORP INC 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, METRO BANCORP INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.02 versus -$0.34 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.56 versus $0.02).
- 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 70.4% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.46 million to $2.48 million.
- Net operating cash flow has increased to $12.09 million or 39.15% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 39.15%, METRO BANCORP INC is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 92.47%.
- 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. Compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, METRO BANCORP INC underperformed against that of the industry average and is significantly less than that of the S&P 500.
- METR has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 7.40% from its price level of one year ago. Looking ahead, other than the push or pull of the broad market, we do not see anything in the company's numbers that may help reverse the decline experienced over the past 12 months. Despite the past decline, the stock is still selling for more than most others in its industry.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff