NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq: HBHC) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, good cash flow from operations, expanding profit margins and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself.
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- HANCOCK HOLDING CO reported significant earnings per share improvement 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 two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, HANCOCK HOLDING CO increased its bottom line by earning $1.76 versus $1.21 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.23 versus $1.76).
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Commercial Banks industry. The net income increased by 162.6% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $18.50 million to $48.58 million.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 68.52% to $132.36 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HANCOCK HOLDING CO has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 15.06%.
- The gross profit margin for HANCOCK HOLDING CO is currently very high, coming in at 91.51%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, HBHC's net profit margin of 19.78% significantly trails the industry average.
- Regardless of the drop in revenue, the company managed to outperform against the industry average of 3.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.1%. The declining revenue has not hurt the company's bottom line, with increasing earnings per share.