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 Niagara Financial Group (Nasdaq: FNFG) 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, expanding profit margins, good cash flow from operations and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
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- FNFG's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 5.6%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
- The gross profit margin for FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP is currently very high, coming in at 85.80%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 16.27% is above that of the industry average.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 63.41% to $151.39 million when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow of 63.41%, FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP is still growing at a significantly lower rate than the industry average of 569.94%.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Commercial Banks industry average. The net income increased by 4.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $58.46 million to $61.10 million.
- FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP's earnings per share declined by 21.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, FIRST NIAGARA FINANCIAL GRP reported lower earnings of $0.40 versus $0.65 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.75 versus $0.40).
-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff