PICO Holdings Inc. Stock Downgraded (PICO)

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

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • PICO HOLDINGS 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. During the past fiscal year, PICO HOLDINGS INC reported poor results of -$2.40 versus -$0.49 in the prior year.
  • 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 Diversified Financial Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 132.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from -$2.10 million to -$4.90 million.
  • Current return on equity is lower than its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of weakness within the company. Compared to other companies in the Diversified Financial Services industry and the overall market, PICO HOLDINGS INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 28.24%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 144.44% 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.
  • PICO, with its decline in revenue, underperformed when compared the industry average of 6.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 21.6%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
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PICO Holdings, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in the water resource and water storage, real estate, insurance, and agribusiness businesses. PICO has a market cap of $495.2 million and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 4.5% year to date as of the close of trading on Wednesday.

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

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