3 Banking Stocks Moving The Industry Upward

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.

All three major indices traded up today with the Dow Jones Industrial Average ( ^DJI) trading up 225 points (1.3%) at 17,417 as of Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, 4:20 PM ET. The NYSE advances/declines ratio sits at 2,093 issues advancing vs. 1,001 declining with 116 unchanged.

The Banking industry as a whole closed the day up 1.0% versus the S&P 500, which was up 1.0%. Top gainers within the Banking industry included OptimumBank Holdings ( OPHC), up 2.1%, Hawthorn ( HWBK), up 2.6%, Porter Bancorp ( PBIB), up 3.3%, Colony Bankcorp ( CBAN), up 1.8% and United Security ( UBFO), up 2.0%.

TheStreet Ratings Group would like to highlight 3 stocks pushing the industry higher today:

United Security ( UBFO) is one of the companies that pushed the Banking industry higher today. United Security was up $0.10 (2.0%) to $5.20 on light volume. Throughout the day, 3,244 shares of United Security exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 4,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $5.20-$5.20 after having opened the day at $5.20 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $5.10.

United Security Bancshares operates as the holding company for United Security Bank that provides a range of commercial banking services primarily to the business and professional community, and individuals in California. United Security has a market cap of $79.0 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 6.6% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate United Security a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates United Security as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and increase in stock price during the past year. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on UBFO go as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 0.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • The gross profit margin for UNITED SECURITY BANCSHARS CA is currently very high, coming in at 105.26%. It has increased significantly from the same period last year. Regardless of the strong results of the gross profit margin, the net profit margin of 20.80% trails the industry average.
  • 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.
  • UNITED SECURITY BANCSHARS CA's earnings per share declined by 48.0% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has suffered a declining pattern earnings per share over the past two years. During the past fiscal year, UNITED SECURITY BANCSHARS CA reported lower earnings of $0.40 versus $0.47 in the prior year.
  • 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 Commercial Banks industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 47.1% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $2.95 million to $1.56 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: United Security Ratings Report

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At the close, Colony Bankcorp ( CBAN) was up $0.13 (1.8%) to $7.50 on light volume. Throughout the day, 2,100 shares of Colony Bankcorp exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 3,200 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $7.35-$7.50 after having opened the day at $7.35 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $7.37.

Colony Bankcorp, Inc. operates as the bank holding company for Colony Bank that provides retail and commercial banking services to consumers and small- to medium-size businesses primarily in central, south, and coastal Georgia. Colony Bankcorp has a market cap of $64.8 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are down 2.5% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Colony Bankcorp a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

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TheStreet Ratings rates Colony Bankcorp as a buy. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on CBAN go as follows:

  • CBAN's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.3%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 3.3%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Looking at where the stock is today compared to one year ago, we find that it is not only higher, but it has also clearly outperformed the rise in the S&P 500 over the same period. Although other factors naturally played a role, the company's strong earnings growth was key. Looking ahead, unless broad bear market conditions prevail, we still see more upside potential for this stock, despite the fact that it has already risen over the past year.
  • COLONY BANKCORP INC 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. During the past fiscal year, COLONY BANKCORP INC increased its bottom line by earning $0.37 versus $0.14 in the prior year.
  • 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 92.7% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $1.08 million to $2.08 million.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Colony Bankcorp Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

Porter Bancorp ( PBIB) was another company that pushed the Banking industry higher today. Porter Bancorp was up $0.02 (3.3%) to $0.71 on light volume. Throughout the day, 4,655 shares of Porter Bancorp exchanged hands as compared to its average daily volume of 32,900 shares. The stock ranged in a price between $0.66-$0.76 after having opened the day at $0.69 as compared to the previous trading day's close of $0.69.

Porter Bancorp, Inc. operates as the holding company for PBI Bank that provides commercial and personal banking products and services, and financial services in Central Kentucky and Louisville. Porter Bancorp has a market cap of $8.6 million and is part of the financial sector. Shares are up 43.8% year-to-date as of the close of trading on Wednesday. Currently there are no analysts who rate Porter Bancorp a buy, no analysts rate it a sell, and none rate it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings rates Porter Bancorp as a sell. The company's weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its unimpressive growth in net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow and generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself.

Highlights from TheStreet Ratings analysis on PBIB go as follows:

  • 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 Commercial Banks industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 384.9% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $0.30 million to -$0.85 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 Commercial Banks industry and the overall market, PORTER BANCORP INC's return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has decreased to $2.74 million or 15.11% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite a decrease in cash flow of 15.11%, PORTER BANCORP INC is still significantly exceeding the industry average of -83.71%.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock's performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 26.00%, worse than the S&P 500's performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company's earnings per share are down 1100.00% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • PORTER BANCORP 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. This company has not demonstrated a clear trend in earnings over the past 2 years, making it difficult to accurately predict earnings for the coming year. During the past fiscal year, PORTER BANCORP INC continued to lose money by earning -$0.28 versus -$2.83 in the prior year.

You can view the full analysis from the report here: Porter Bancorp Ratings Report

STOCKS TO BUY: TheStreet Quant Ratings has identified a handful of stocks that can potentially TRIPLE in the next 12 months. Learn more.

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.