Career Education Corporation Stock Downgraded (CECO)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Career Education Corporation (Nasdaq: CECO) 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, weak operating cash flow, 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 Diversified Consumer Services industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 281.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $55.35 million to -$100.23 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 Diversified Consumer Services industry and the overall market, CAREER EDUCATION CORP's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$0.78 million or 101.40% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 85.73%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 300.00% 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.
  • CAREER EDUCATION CORP 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, CAREER EDUCATION CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.11 versus $2.05 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.33 versus -$0.11).

Career Education Corporation operates colleges, schools, and universities that provide educational services in career-oriented disciplines worldwide. Career has a market cap of $248 million and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are down 60.7% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Career 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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