Hilltop (HTH) Upgraded at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $24.00 price target on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Hilltop Holdings have outperformed the industry over the past three months. The company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in only one of the trailing four quarters. Its first-quarter 2019 results benefited from higher revenues, partly offset by an increase in expenses. Driven by the continued rise in demand for loans and higher interest rates, the company’s top line is expected to improve further. Moreover, its inorganic growth efforts are likely to keep supporting profitability. While elevated expenses, pressure on margins (due to liability sensitive balance sheet) and lower mortgage volume are the major near-term concerns, given a solid liquidity position, the company is expected to continue enhancing shareholder value through efficient capital deployment activities.”

Several other research firms have also commented on HTH. ValuEngine upgraded Hilltop from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report on Thursday, April 18th. Compass Point reiterated a buy rating and set a $21.50 price target (down previously from $25.00) on shares of Hilltop in a report on Monday, January 28th. Stephens reiterated a hold rating and set a $19.00 price target on shares of Hilltop in a report on Friday, January 25th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies upgraded Hilltop from a neutral rating to an overweight rating and set a $21.00 price target on the stock in a report on Thursday, March 28th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, three have assigned a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $21.90.

Shares of HTH opened at $21.14 on Tuesday. Hilltop has a 52-week low of $16.43 and a 52-week high of $24.09. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.03, a quick ratio of 0.88 and a current ratio of 0.98. The firm has a market cap of $1.99 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.52 and a beta of 0.89.

Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, April 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.41 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.26 by $0.15. Hilltop had a net margin of 8.30% and a return on equity of 6.90%. The company had revenue of $361.40 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $335.96 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.25 EPS. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 6.7% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, analysts forecast that Hilltop will post 1.57 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, May 31st. Investors of record on Wednesday, May 15th will be issued a $0.08 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, May 14th. This represents a $0.32 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.51%. Hilltop’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 25.00%.

In related news, CEO Alan B. White sold 69,029 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, February 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.36, for a total value of $1,336,401.44. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 214,150 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,145,944. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Alan B. White sold 8,657 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, February 26th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.40, for a total transaction of $167,945.80. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 214,150 shares in the company, valued at $4,154,510. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 22.30% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of HTH. Renaissance Technologies LLC raised its holdings in Hilltop by 36.2% in the 3rd quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 107,284 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $2,164,000 after buying an additional 28,500 shares during the period. Verition Fund Management LLC purchased a new stake in Hilltop during the third quarter worth about $248,000. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC increased its stake in Hilltop by 53.6% during the third quarter. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC now owns 52,841 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $1,066,000 after purchasing an additional 18,432 shares during the period. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its stake in Hilltop by 3.4% during the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 213,413 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $4,305,000 after purchasing an additional 7,046 shares during the period. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC increased its stake in Hilltop by 2.9% during the third quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 955,470 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $19,272,000 after purchasing an additional 26,617 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 61.23% of the company’s stock.

Hilltop Company Profile

Hilltop Holdings Inc provides banking and financial products and services. The company operates in four segments: Banking, Broker-Dealer, Mortgage Origination, and Insurance. The Banking segment offers savings, checking, interest-bearing checking, and money market accounts; certificates of deposit; lines and letters of credit, home improvement and equity loans, loans for purchasing and carrying securities, equipment loans and leases, agricultural and commercial real estate loans, and other loans; and commercial and industrial loans, and term and construction finance.

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