First PacTrust Bancorp Inc. Stock Upgraded (BANC)

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) -- First PacTrust Bancorp (Nasdaq: BANC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, expanding profit margins, increase in net income and growth in earnings per share. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • BANC's very impressive revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 6.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues leaped by 124.3%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Thrifts & Mortgage Finance industry. The net income increased by 1381.8% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $0.64 million to $9.54 million.
  • The gross profit margin for FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP is currently very high, coming in at 86.20%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 39.50% significantly outperformed against the industry average.
  • FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP 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, FIRST PACTRUST BANCORP swung to a loss, reporting -$0.25 versus $0.31 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.27 versus -$0.25).
  • In its most recent trading session, BANC has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. The stock's price rise over the last year has driven it to a level which is somewhat expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
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First PacTrust Bancorp, Inc. operates as a holding company for Pacific Trust Bank that provides retail banking services. The company has a P/E ratio of -17.5, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. First PacTrust has a market cap of $117.1 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 7.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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.

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