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) -- Sterling Construction Company (Nasdaq: STRL) has been downgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.
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- 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 Construction & Engineering industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 1881.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.93 million to -$52.14 million.
- Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Construction & Engineering industry and the overall market, STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
- Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to -$9.72 million or 149.25% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
- The share price of STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC has not done very well: it is down 12.32% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
- STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC reported poor results of -$4.90 versus -$0.27 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.29 versus -$4.90).