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) -- Heartland Financial USA (Nasdaq: HTLF) 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, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and expanding profit margins. Although no company is perfect, currently we do not see any significant weaknesses which are likely to detract from the generally positive outlook.
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- The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 16.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 19.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
- Powered by its strong earnings growth of 42.59% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 71.13% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, HTLF should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- HEARTLAND FINANCIAL USA INC has improved earnings per share by 42.6% 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, HEARTLAND FINANCIAL USA INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.23 versus $1.12 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.72 versus $1.23).
- 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 36.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $10.22 million to $13.96 million.
- The gross profit margin for HEARTLAND FINANCIAL USA INC is currently very high, coming in at 82.90%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 18.50% is above that of the industry average.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff