Hilltop Holdings Inc. (NYSE:HTH) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Hilltop Holdings earnings of $0.53 per share were in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate but grew 12.8% year over year on solid performance by the company’s units – PlainsCapital Bank, PrimeLending and HilltopSecurities. However, National Lloyds witnessed a seasonality effect on lower claims payable. We note that Hilltop Holdings has been able to grow on the back of recent acquisitions. Also, prudent capital management has strengthened operating and competitive efficiencies. In addition, the company’s balance sheet, free cash flow, capital ratios and investment portfolio are strong and should support long-term growth. Furthermore, PlainsCapital Bank’s strong fundamentals, PrimeLending’s focus on purchase business and robust National Lloyds business bode well for the long term. Nevertheless, Hilltop remains exposed to catastrophic events, volatility in interest rates, high competition and economic volatility.”

HTH has been the subject of a number of other research reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods upped their target price on Hilltop Holdings from $23.00 to $24.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a report on Friday, July 29th. FBR & Co upped their target price on Hilltop Holdings from $24.00 to $26.00 and gave the stock a “mkt perform” rating in a report on Friday, October 28th. Finally, TheStreet cut Hilltop Holdings from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $25.60.

Hilltop Holdings (NYSE:HTH) opened at 27.38 on Tuesday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $24.22 and its 200 day moving average price is $22.06. Hilltop Holdings has a 12-month low of $14.28 and a 12-month high of $27.76. The company has a market cap of $2.70 billion, a PE ratio of 20.62 and a beta of 0.38.

Hilltop Holdings (NYSE:HTH) last issued its earnings results on Friday, October 28th. The company reported $0.53 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.52 by $0.01. Hilltop Holdings had a return on equity of 7.35% and a net margin of 7.68%. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.47 earnings per share.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, November 30th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, November 15th will be paid a $0.06 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, November 10th. This represents a $0.24 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.88%. Hilltop Holdings’s payout ratio is 17.91%.

In other news, insider Jerry Schaffner sold 2,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, October 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $25.00, for a total value of $62,500.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. 22.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Hillcrest Asset Management LLC raised its stake in shares of Hilltop Holdings by 1.3% in the third quarter. Hillcrest Asset Management LLC now owns 346,956 shares of the company’s stock valued at $7,793,000 after buying an additional 4,614 shares during the last quarter. Highbridge Capital Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Hilltop Holdings during the third quarter valued at approximately $426,000. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. raised its stake in shares of Hilltop Holdings by 44.3% in the third quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. now owns 15,021 shares of the company’s stock valued at $337,000 after buying an additional 4,608 shares during the last quarter. The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company acquired a new stake in shares of Hilltop Holdings during the third quarter valued at approximately $1,156,000. Finally, HBK Investments L P acquired a new stake in shares of Hilltop Holdings during the third quarter valued at approximately $230,000. Institutional investors own 53.75% 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 Corporation (the Bank). It has three operating business units, which include PlainsCapital (banking and mortgage origination), Hilltop Securities Holdings LLC (Securities Holdings) and National Lloyds Corporation (NLC).

5 Day Chart for NYSE:HTH

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