SouFun (SFUN) Stock Closed Higher After Barclays Initiated Coverage

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of SouFun Holdings Ltd. (SFUN) closed up 1.70% to $8.95 on Monday after the company was initiated with an "overweight" rating and $12 price target at Barclays.

SouFun Holdings is a real estate Internet portal in China that uses websites and mobile applications to support online communities and networks of users seeking information on the real estate and home-related sectors.

SouFun Holdings is targeting to develop new home agency and second-hand home brokerage services, which are worth 1.5% to 2% and 2.5% to 3% of a home's value, with advertisement expenses at only 1%, Barclays noted.

"Our positive view on SouFun Holdings is mainly due to the company's transaction-based advertisements to new home agency and brokerage services for the secondary market, and the strong organic traffic of SouFun's websites and own apps," Barclays analysts said.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates SOUFUN HLDGS LTD as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SOUFUN HLDGS LTD (SFUN) a BUY. This is driven by multiple strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, expanding profit margins and notable return on equity. We feel its strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat weak growth in earnings per share."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 5.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.8%. 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 SOUFUN HLDGS LTD is rather high; currently it is at 67.15%. Despite the high profit margin, it has decreased significantly from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, SFUN's net profit margin of 4.94% is significantly lower than the industry average.
  • 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 Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, SOUFUN HLDGS LTD's return on equity significantly exceeds that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio of 1.05 is relatively high when compared with the industry average, suggesting a need for better debt level management. Regardless of the company's weak debt-to-equity ratio, SFUN has managed to keep a strong quick ratio of 2.05, which demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • In its most recent trading session, SFUN has closed at a price level that was not very different from its closing price of one year earlier. This is probably due to its weak earnings growth as well as other mixed factors. Looking ahead, although the push and pull of the overall market trend could certainly make a critical difference, we do not see any strong reason stemming from the company's fundamentals that would cause a continuation of last year's decline. In fact, the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: SFUN Ratings Report

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