Hilltop (HTH) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Hilltop Holdings’ shares have outperformed the industry in the past three months. Also, the company has surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in two of the trailing four quarters. Its fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from lower expenses and higher net interest income, partly offset by a decline in non-interest income and higher provisions. The company is expected to witness higher interest income, given the improving rate environment and an increase in loan demand. Also, its deal to acquire The Bank of River Oaks will be accretive to its earnings. However, elevated expense levels due to continued investments in franchise and inorganic growth plans are expected to hurt profitability to some extent. Also, pressure on margins remains a major concern for the company.”

A number of other research firms have also recently commented on HTH. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Hilltop from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, December 1st. Stephens cut shares of Hilltop from an overweight rating to an equal weight rating in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Finally, Piper Jaffray Companies restated a hold rating and set a $30.00 target price on shares of Hilltop in a research note on Sunday, January 28th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Hilltop has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $33.50.

Shares of Hilltop (HTH) opened at $25.40 on Thursday. Hilltop has a one year low of $21.47 and a one year high of $29.54. The company has a market cap of $2,438.10, a P/E ratio of 15.39 and a beta of 1.09. The company has a current ratio of 0.99, a quick ratio of 0.82 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.04.

Hilltop (NYSE:HTH) last released its earnings results on Thursday, January 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.44 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.42 by $0.02. Hilltop had a net margin of 7.74% and a return on equity of 8.48%. The company had revenue of $399.15 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $390.05 million. equities analysts forecast that Hilltop will post 1.88 earnings per share for the current year.

Hilltop announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a share repurchase plan on Thursday, January 25th that authorizes the company to buyback $50.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization authorizes the financial services provider to repurchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares buyback plans are generally an indication that the company’s board of directors believes its stock is undervalued.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, February 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, February 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.07 per share. This is a positive change from Hilltop’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.06. This represents a $0.28 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.10%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, February 14th. Hilltop’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 20.74%.

In related news, Director Gerald J. Ford acquired 10,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 22nd. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $25.08 per share, with a total value of $250,800.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Company insiders own 22.60% of the company’s stock.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the business. MetLife Investment Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in Hilltop during the 4th quarter valued at approximately $872,000. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. grew its holdings in Hilltop by 28.6% during the 4th quarter. Westwood Holdings Group Inc. now owns 136,327 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $3,454,000 after buying an additional 30,337 shares in the last quarter. Millennium Management LLC grew its holdings in Hilltop by 8.7% during the 4th quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 843,779 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $21,373,000 after buying an additional 67,876 shares in the last quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC grew its holdings in Hilltop by 18.4% during the 4th quarter. TIAA CREF Investment Management LLC now owns 685,182 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $17,356,000 after buying an additional 106,595 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Advisors LLC grew its holdings in Hilltop by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 1,002,196 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $25,386,000 after buying an additional 3,855 shares in the last quarter. 56.27% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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Hilltop Company Profile

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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