NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Banner (Nasdaq: BANR) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.
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- 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
- BANNER CORP reported significant earnings per share improvement 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. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BANNER CORP continued to lose money by earning -$0.20 versus -$6.79 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.61 versus -$0.20).
- 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 1054.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $2.20 million to $25.39 million.
- The gross profit margin for BANNER CORP is currently very high, coming in at 76.50%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 66.50% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
- BANR, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 28.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues fell by 35.4%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff