NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Associated Banc-Corp (Nasdaq: ASBC) 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, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
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- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 16.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 2.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- ASSOCIATED BANC-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, ASSOCIATED BANC-CORP turned its bottom line around by earning $0.67 versus -$0.18 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.98 versus $0.67).
- 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 26.0% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $34.38 million to $43.32 million.
- The gross profit margin for ASSOCIATED BANC-CORP is currently very high, coming in at 90.60%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.80% is above that of the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 63.72% to $123.99 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, ASSOCIATED BANC-CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -169.58%.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff