Hilltop Holdings Inc. (HTH) Lowered to “Sell” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Hilltop Holdings’ shares have underperformed the industry in the last six months. The company’s second-quarter 2017 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Results benefitted from higher interest income, a slight fall in expenses and significantly lower provisions, which were partly offset by lower non-interest income. However, elevated expense levels (owing to continued investments in franchise) remain a key concern. Also, deteriorating performance of its Mortgage Origination segment is expected to hurt financials in the near-term. Nevertheless, improving loan and deposit balances along with gradually easing margin pressure should lead to improvement in interest income.”

Other analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Compass Point upgraded shares of Hilltop Holdings from a neutral rating to a buy rating and set a $30.50 target price on the stock in a research report on Tuesday, August 1st. BidaskClub cut shares of Hilltop Holdings from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. Stephens set a $31.00 target price on shares of Hilltop Holdings and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Monday, June 26th. TheStreet upgraded shares of Hilltop Holdings from a c+ rating to a b rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 3rd. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Hilltop Holdings from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $32.08.

Shares of Hilltop Holdings (NYSE HTH) traded down 0.63% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $25.33. The company had a trading volume of 597,120 shares. The firm has a market capitalization of $2.44 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.17 and a beta of 1.01. The stock has a 50 day moving average price of $25.93 and a 200 day moving average price of $26.80. Hilltop Holdings has a 1-year low of $21.04 and a 1-year high of $30.60.

Hilltop Holdings (NYSE:HTH) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 27th. The financial services provider reported $0.63 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.20. The business had revenue of $460.67 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $431.80 million. Hilltop Holdings had a net margin of 10.02% and a return on equity of 9.39%. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $0.32 EPS. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Hilltop Holdings will post $1.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, August 31st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, August 15th will be given a dividend of $0.06 per share. This represents a $0.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.95%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 11th. Hilltop Holdings’s dividend payout ratio is 13.41%.

In related news, CEO Alan B. White sold 79,025 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $26.03, for a total transaction of $2,057,020.75. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 216,124 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,625,707.72. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, Director Charles Clifton Robinson purchased 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, July 31st. The shares were purchased at an average price of $24.97 per share, for a total transaction of $499,400.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the director now directly owns 1,255,024 shares in the company, valued at approximately $31,337,949.28. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 311,525 shares of company stock worth $8,055,071 over the last quarter. 22.60% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank increased its position in shares of Hilltop Holdings by 93.2% in the first quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,648 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $100,000 after buying an additional 1,760 shares during the last quarter. First Interstate Bank increased its position in shares of Hilltop Holdings by 50.1% in the first quarter. First Interstate Bank now owns 3,895 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $107,000 after buying an additional 1,300 shares during the last quarter. Founders Capital Management purchased a new position in shares of Hilltop Holdings during the first quarter valued at approximately $118,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Hilltop Holdings by 32.9% in the first quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 5,644 shares of the financial services provider’s stock valued at $155,000 after buying an additional 1,398 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Ameritas Investment Partners Inc. purchased a new position in shares of Hilltop Holdings during the first quarter valued at approximately $178,000. Institutional investors own 56.72% of the company’s stock.

About Hilltop Holdings

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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