Autobytel Inc. Stock Upgraded (ABTL)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Autobytel (Nasdaq: ABTL) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the stock has had a generally disappointing performance in the past year.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • AUTOBYTEL INC has shown improvement in its earnings for its most recently reported quarter when compared with the same quarter a year earlier. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, AUTOBYTEL INC turned its bottom line around by earning $0.05 versus -$0.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.25 versus $0.05).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Internet Software & Services industry average. The net income increased by 15.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $0.20 million to $0.23 million.
  • 40.50% is the gross profit margin for AUTOBYTEL INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ABTL's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ABTL's net profit margin of 1.50% is significantly lower than the same period one year prior.
  • This stock's share value has moved by only 15.41% over the past year. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The company's current return on equity greatly increased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of significant strength within the corporation. In comparison to the other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, AUTOBYTEL INC's return on equity is significantly below that of the industry average and is below that of the S&P 500.

Autobytel Inc. operates as an automotive marketing services company in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 25.7, above the average internet industry P/E ratio of 21.1 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Autobytel has a market cap of $31.7 million and is part of the technology sector and internet industry. Shares are up 10% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.

You can view the full Autobytel 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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