Stifel Financial Corp. Stock Downgraded (SF)

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) -- Stifel Financial (NYSE: SF) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, impressive record of earnings per share growth and attractive valuation levels. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including weak operating cash flow, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • SF's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 10.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 17.4%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • STIFEL FINANCIAL CORP has improved earnings per share by 46.5% 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. This trend suggests that the performance of the business is improving. During the past fiscal year, STIFEL FINANCIAL CORP increased its bottom line by earning $2.20 versus $1.33 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.50 versus $2.20).
  • In its most recent trading session, SF 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. Turning toward the future, the fact that the stock has come down in price over the past year should not necessarily be interpreted as a negative; it could be one of the factors that may help make the stock attractive down the road. Right now, however, we believe that it is too soon to buy.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$213.58 million or 221.88% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
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Stifel Financial Corp., a financial holding company, provides retail and institutional brokerage, and investment banking services in the United States, Canada, and Europe. The company has a P/E ratio of 16.6, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Stifel Financial has a market cap of $2.31 billion and is part of the financial sector and financial services industry. Shares are up 12.4% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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