NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sandy Spring Bancorp (Nasdaq: SASR) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share, attractive valuation levels and notable return on equity. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself. Highlights from the ratings report include:
- The gross profit margin for SANDY SPRING BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 81.50%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 15.80% is above that of the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $9.09 million or 7.36% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 7.36%, SANDY SPRING BANCORP INC is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 92.62%.
- SANDY SPRING BANCORP INC has improved earnings per share by 11.1% 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. However, we anticipate underperformance relative to this pattern in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, SANDY SPRING BANCORP INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.41 versus $0.71 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 7.4% in earnings ($1.31 versus $1.41).
- SASR, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 0.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.7%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff