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) -- ECB Bancorp (AMEX: ECBE) 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, compelling growth in net income, expanding profit margins and impressive record of earnings per share growth. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results.
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- The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 21.9%. 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 433.33% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 34.98% 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, ECBE should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
- 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 212.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.53 million to $1.65 million.
- The gross profit margin for ECB BANCORP INC is currently very high, coming in at 74.30%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 11.80% trails the industry average.
- ECB BANCORP INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ECB BANCORP INC reported poor results of -$0.73 versus -$0.07 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.15 versus -$0.73).
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff