Asta Funding Inc. Stock Upgraded (ASFI)

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) -- Asta Funding (Nasdaq: ASFI) 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, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, expanding profit margins and solid stock price performance. 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:
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 7.6%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.1%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displaying stagnant earnings per share.
  • The current debt-to-equity ratio, 0.35, is low and is below the industry average, implying that there has been successful management of debt levels.
  • 47.00% is the gross profit margin for ASTA FUNDING INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ASFI's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, ASFI's net profit margin of 24.52% significantly outperformed against the industry.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period, despite the company's weak earnings results. Looking ahead, the stock's rise over the last year has already helped drive it to a level which is relatively expensive compared to the rest of its industry. We feel, however, that the other strengths this company displays justify these higher price levels.
  • ASTA FUNDING INC reported flat earnings per share in the most recent quarter. Stable Earnings per share over the past year indicate the company has sound management over its earnings and share float. During the past fiscal year, ASTA FUNDING INC reported lower earnings of $0.70 versus $0.71 in the prior year.
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Asta Funding, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, engages in purchasing, managing, and servicing distressed consumer receivables in the United States. The company has a P/E ratio of 13.3, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Asta Funding has a market cap of $120.6 million and is part of the services sector and diversified services industry. Shares are down 2.1% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

You can view the full Asta Funding 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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