3 Stocks Pushing The Materials & Construction Industry Lower

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The Materials & Construction industry as a whole closed the day down 0.2% versus the S&P 500, which was down 0.2%. Laggards within the Materials & Construction industry included Abengoa ( ABGB), down 2.2%, Casella Waste Systems ( CWST), down 5.3%, Sterling Construction ( STRL), down 2.8%, Real Goods Solar ( RGSE), down 3.9% and Aspen Aerogels ( ASPN), down 3.4%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks that pushed the industry lower today:

Sterling Construction ( STRL) is one of the companies that pushed the Materials & Construction industry lower today. Sterling Construction was down $0.25 (2.8%) to $8.57 on average volume. Throughout the day, 57,422 shares of Sterling Construction exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 75,500 shares. The stock ranged in price between $8.54-$8.82 after having opened the day at $8.79 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $8.82.

Sterling Construction Company, Inc. operates as a heavy civil construction company in Texas, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and other states of the United States. Sterling Construction has a market cap of $168.3 million and is part of the industrial goods sector. Shares are down 24.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are 2 analysts who rate Sterling Construction a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and 1 rates it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Sterling Construction as a hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and good cash flow from operations. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including disappointing return on equity, a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself and poor profit margins.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on STRL go as follows:

  • The revenue growth greatly exceeded the industry average of 11.8%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 46.1%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • STRL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.14 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 1.11, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO INC reported significant earnings per share improvement in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. But, we feel it is poised for EPS growth 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 ($0.35 versus -$4.90).
  • STRL has underperformed the S&P 500 Index, declining 8.15% from its price level of one year ago. 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.
  • 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.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Sterling Construction Ratings Report

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