Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) Lifted to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Wednesday, January 10th. The firm currently has $30.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Hilltop Holdings’ shares have significantly underperformed the industry in the past six months. Also, the company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in just one of the trailing four quarters. Elevated expense levels (owing to continued investments in franchise) remain a key concern. Overall expenses are expected to continue to increase thereby affecting bottom-line growth. Nevertheless, the company will likely witness higher interest income and easing margin pressure (given the improving rate environment and an increase in loan demand). Also, its efficient capital deployment activities reflect a solid balance sheet and liquidity position.”

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on HTH. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a neutral rating on shares of Hilltop in a research note on Tuesday, September 12th. ValuEngine raised Hilltop from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies reissued a hold rating and issued a $30.00 price target on shares of Hilltop in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $33.50.

Shares of Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) traded down $0.06 during mid-day trading on Wednesday, reaching $26.37. The company had a trading volume of 466,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 484,270. Hilltop has a 1-year low of $21.47 and a 1-year high of $29.54. The company has a market capitalization of $2,534.91, a PE ratio of 16.80 and a beta of 1.04. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.04, a current ratio of 0.99 and a quick ratio of 0.82.

Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The financial services provider reported $0.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by ($0.12). Hilltop had a net margin of 9.00% and a return on equity of 8.16%. sell-side analysts predict that Hilltop will post 1.46 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, Director Gerald J. Ford bought 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 22nd. The shares were bought at an average cost of $25.08 per share, with a total value of $250,800.00. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 22.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Bank of Montreal Can raised its position in shares of Hilltop by 19.7% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 145,669 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,690,000 after purchasing an additional 23,975 shares during the period. GSA Capital Partners LLP raised its position in shares of Hilltop by 122.5% during the third quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP now owns 45,871 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,193,000 after purchasing an additional 25,258 shares during the period. Zions Bancorporation acquired a new position in shares of Hilltop during the third quarter worth approximately $109,000. Maltese Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Hilltop during the third quarter worth approximately $2,990,000. Finally, NWQ Investment Management Company LLC raised its position in shares of Hilltop by 8.9% during the third quarter. NWQ Investment Management Company LLC now owns 843,808 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $21,939,000 after purchasing an additional 68,955 shares during the period. 56.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Hilltop

Hilltop Holdings Inc is a financial holding Company. The Company provides business and consumer banking services from offices located throughout Texas through PlainsCapital Bank (the Bank). It has three operating business units, which include PlainsCapital Corporation (PCC) (banking and mortgage origination), Hilltop Securities Holdings LLC (Securities Holdings) (broker-dealer) and PlainsCapital Company (NLC) (insurance).

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