Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL) Sees Large Increase in Short Interest

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL) was the target of a large growth in short interest in August. As of August 31st, there was short interest totalling 126,600 shares, a growth of 47.4% from the July 31st total of 85,900 shares. Based on an average daily volume of 97,600 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 1.3 days. Approximately 0.7% of the company’s shares are short sold.

Several research firms have recently weighed in on HALL. TheStreet raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 29th. BidaskClub raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, July 30th. ValuEngine lowered Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 1st. Raymond James lifted their price objective on Hallmark Financial Services from $15.00 to $18.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research note on Monday, August 12th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $18.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, August 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, two have assigned a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $16.67.

Hallmark Financial Services stock traded up $0.37 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $18.47. 1,698 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 112,634. The company’s fifty day moving average price is $16.51 and its 200-day moving average price is $13.10. The company has a market cap of $316.97 million, a PE ratio of 18.29 and a beta of 0.56. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30, a current ratio of 0.51 and a quick ratio of 0.51. Hallmark Financial Services has a fifty-two week low of $9.48 and a fifty-two week high of $18.43.

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

In other news, CEO Naveen Anand acquired 6,500 shares of Hallmark Financial Services stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 14th. The shares were acquired at an average cost of $16.38 per share, with a total value 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 legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Insiders own 28.60% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA lifted its position in Hallmark Financial Services by 547.1% during the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,763 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $29,000 after acquiring an additional 2,336 shares in the last quarter. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. purchased a new stake in Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $84,000. Bessemer Group Inc. purchased a new stake in Hallmark Financial Services during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $398,000. Russell Investments Group Ltd. increased its holdings in shares of Hallmark Financial Services by 5.1% in the 2nd quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 794,429 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $11,303,000 after acquiring an additional 38,329 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Strs Ohio bought a new stake in shares of Hallmark Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $542,000. 65.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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