Midsouth Bancorp Stock Upgraded (MSL)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Midsouth Bancorp (AMEX: MSL) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and solid stock price performance. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 25.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 30.8%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • 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 289.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.74 million to $2.89 million.
  • The gross profit margin for MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 88.30%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, MSL's net profit margin of 15.30% significantly trails the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has slightly increased to $4.40 million or 7.01% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, MIDSOUTH BANCORP INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 15.77%.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.

MidSouth Bancorp, Inc. operates as a bank holding company of MidSouth Bank, N.A. that provides various banking services to commercial and retail customers in south Louisiana, and central and east Texas. The company has a P/E ratio of 32, equal to the average banking industry P/E ratio and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Midsouth has a market cap of $153.8 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 13% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Midsouth Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

TheStreet ratings do not represent the views of TheStreet's staff or its contributors. Ratings are established by computer based on metrics for performance (which includes growth, stock performance, efficiency and valuation) and risk (volatility and solvency). Companies with poor cash flow or high debt levels tend to earn lower ratings in our model.

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