Sterling Construction Company Inc. Stock Downgraded (STRL)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Sterling Construction Company (Nasdaq: STRL) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, poor profit margins, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Construction & Engineering industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 565.4% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $9.37 million to -$43.62 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Construction & Engineering industry and the overall market, STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The gross profit margin for STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC is currently extremely low, coming in at 7.40%. It has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of -38.30% is significantly below that of the industry average.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 38.39%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 603.70% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC swung to a loss, reporting -$2.26 versus $1.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.22 versus -$2.26).
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Sterling Construction Company, Inc., a heavy civil construction company, engages in the building, reconstruction, and repair of transportation and water infrastructure. Sterling Construction has a market cap of $191.4 million and is part of the industrial goods sector and materials & construction industry. Shares are down 8.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Sterling Construction Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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