Zions Bancorporation Stock Downgraded (ZION)

Editor's Note: 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

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Zions (Nasdaq: ZION) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that we feel that the company's cash flow from its operations has been weak overall.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ZIONS BANCORPORATION 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, ZIONS BANCORPORATION turned its bottom line around by earning $0.83 versus -$2.50 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($1.13 versus $0.83).
  • 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 25.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $72.88 million to $91.74 million.
  • Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 16.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 6.7%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. We feel that the combination of its price rise over the last year and its current price-to-earnings ratio relative to its industry tend to reduce its upside potential.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $260.71 million or 24.70% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.

Zions Bancorporation, a bank and financial holding company, provides a range of banking and related services in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 18.3, below the average banking industry P/E ratio of 18.5 and above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Zions has a market cap of $3.51 billion and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 15% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff
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