Editor's Note: Any reference to TheStreet Ratings and its underlying recommendation does not reflect the opinion of TheStreet, Inc. or any of its contributors including Jim Cramer or Stephanie Link. NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hickory Tech (Nasdaq: HTCO) 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, reasonable valuation levels, increase in net income, good cash flow from operations and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated.
- EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Jim Cramer's Protégé, Dave Peltier, only buys Stocks Under $10 that he thinks could potentially double. See what he's trading today with a 14-day FREE pass.
- The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 2.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 7.5%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
- The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has significantly exceeded that of the S&P 500 and the Diversified Telecommunication Services industry. The net income increased by 33.5% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.74 million to $2.32 million.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 87.45% to $9.86 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, HICKORY TECH CORP has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -2.18%.
- 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. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.