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) -- BancorpSouth (NYSE: BXS) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. 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, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. 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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- BANCORPSOUTH INC 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 year. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, BANCORPSOUTH INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.44 versus $0.27 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.96 versus $0.44).
- 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 99.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $11.93 million to $23.83 million.
- The gross profit margin for BANCORPSOUTH INC is currently very high, coming in at 87.80%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 12.46% trails the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has increased to $42.43 million or 14.28% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 14.28%, BANCORPSOUTH INC is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 96.75%.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff