American River Bankshares Stock Upgraded (AMRB)

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) -- American River Bankshares (Nasdaq: AMRB) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its expanding profit margins, notable return on equity and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had sub par growth in net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • The gross profit margin for AMERICAN RIVER BANKSHARES is currently very high, coming in at 92.40%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 14.98% is above that of the industry average.
  • AMERICAN RIVER BANKSHARES's earnings per share declined by 10.0% 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, AMERICAN RIVER BANKSHARES increased its bottom line by earning $0.33 versus $0.25 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.38 versus $0.33).
  • AMRB, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 1.2%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 7.5%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, AMERICAN RIVER BANKSHARES's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. 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.
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American River Bankshares operates as the holding company for American River Bank that provides commercial banking services to small to mid-sized businesses in California. It accepts checking and savings deposits; and offers money market deposit accounts and certificates of deposit. The company has a P/E ratio of 22.5, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. American River has a market cap of $70.3 million and is part of the financial sector and banking industry. Shares are up 10.9% year to date as of the close of trading on Monday.

You can view the full American River 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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