NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE: AF) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its reasonable valuation levels and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.
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- The gross profit margin for ASTORIA FINANCIAL CORP is rather high; currently it is at 55.10%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, AF's net profit margin of 5.60% significantly trails the industry average.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 20.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 13.3%. Weakness in the company's revenue seems to have hurt the bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
- The company's current return on equity has slightly decreased from the same quarter one year prior. This implies a minor weakness in the organization. Compared to other companies in the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry and the overall market on the basis of return on equity, ASTORIA FINANCIAL CORP has outperformed in comparison with the industry average, but has underperformed when compared to that of 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 25.58%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 62.06% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Looking ahead, the stock's sharp decline over the past year may have been what was needed in order to bring its value into alignment with its fundamentals and others in its industry.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff