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) -- Harte-Hanks (NYSE: HHS) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from hold to buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels 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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- HHS's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.28 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.48, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
- Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. 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.
- HARTE HANKS INC's earnings per share declined by 42.1% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern of earnings per share over the past two years. However, we anticipate this trend to reverse over the coming year. During the past fiscal year, HARTE HANKS INC reported lower earnings of $0.39 versus $0.56 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($0.50 versus $0.39).
- HHS, with its decline in revenue, slightly underperformed the industry average of 3.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly dropped by 3.6%. The declining revenue appears to have seeped down to the company's bottom line, decreasing earnings per share.