ESCO Technologies Inc. Stock Downgraded (ESE)

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) -- ESCO Technologies (NYSE: ESE) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from buy to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and expanding profit margins. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, feeble growth in the company's earnings per share and deteriorating net income.

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Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • ESE's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.29 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Although the company had a strong debt-to-equity ratio, its quick ratio of 0.85 is somewhat weak and could be cause for future problems.
  • 35.30% is the gross profit margin for ESCO TECHNOLOGIES INC which we consider to be strong. Regardless of ESE's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 0.93% trails the industry average.
  • ESCO TECHNOLOGIES INC has exprienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. Earnings per share have declined over the last year. We anticipate that this should continue in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, ESCO TECHNOLOGIES INC reported lower earnings of $1.73 versus $1.95 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 2.9% in earnings ($1.68 versus $1.73).
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Machinery industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 84.7% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $10.20 million to $1.56 million.
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ESCO Technologies Inc. produces and supplies engineered products and systems for utility, industrial, aerospace, and commercial markets worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 26.8, above the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. ESCO has a market cap of $870.8 million and is part of the technology sector and electronics industry. Shares are down 15% year to date as of the close of trading on Tuesday.

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

-- Written by a member of TheStreet Ratings Staff

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