Hallmark Financial Services (NASDAQ:HALL) Raised to “Buy” at Zacks Investment Research

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Hallmark Financial Services (NASDAQ:HALL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $21.00 price objective on the insurance provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “HALLMARK FINANCIAL and its wholly owned subsidiaries engage in the sale of property and casualty insurance products. Their business primarily involves marketing, underwriting and premium financing of non-standard automobile insurance, as well as claims adjusting and other insurance related services. “

A number of other equities analysts also recently issued reports on HALL. BidaskClub raised Hallmark Financial Services from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 30th. ValuEngine downgraded Hallmark Financial Services from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Thursday, August 1st. Finally, Raymond James increased their price target on Hallmark Financial Services from $15.00 to $18.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a research report on Monday, August 12th. One analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, three have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $17.67.

Shares of HALL traded down $0.16 during midday trading on Thursday, reaching $18.66. 2,798 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 147,805. Hallmark Financial Services has a 52 week low of $9.48 and a 52 week high of $20.30. The company has a current ratio of 0.51, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30. The company’s 50 day moving average is $18.49 and its two-hundred day moving average is $14.58. The company has a market capitalization of $346.88 million, a P/E ratio of 18.51 and a beta of 0.60.

Hallmark Financial Services (NASDAQ:HALL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 7th. The insurance provider reported $0.42 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.35 by $0.07. Hallmark Financial Services had a return on equity of 8.29% and a net margin of 7.65%. The business had revenue of $112.29 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $106.75 million. On average, sell-side analysts expect that Hallmark Financial Services will post 1.43 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CEO Naveen Anand acquired 6,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, August 14th. The stock was purchased at an average cost of $16.38 per share, for a total transaction of $106,470.00. Following the purchase, the chief executive officer now directly owns 77,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,267,812. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 28.60% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of HALL. Meeder Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services by 1,236.2% during the 3rd quarter. Meeder Asset Management Inc. now owns 1,884 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $36,000 after purchasing an additional 1,743 shares during the last quarter. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth $84,000. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth $102,000. Prudential Financial Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth $161,000. Finally, Bailard Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth $185,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 65.42% of the company’s stock.

About Hallmark Financial Services

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc, through its subsidiaries, underwrites, markets, distributes, and services property/casualty insurance products to businesses and individuals in the United States. The company operates in the Specialty Commercial, Standard Commercial, and Personal segments. The Specialty Commercial segment markets, underwrites, finances, and services commercial lines of insurance products, including commercial automobile, general liability, commercial property, commercial excess liability, and commercial umbrella insurance products.

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