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

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Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL) was the target of a significant growth in short interest in the month of 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 trading volume of 97,600 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 1.3 days. Approximately 0.7% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Several equities research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $18.00 price objective for the company in a report on Wednesday, August 14th. ValuEngine downgraded Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. 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 report on Monday, August 12th. TheStreet raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “c” rating to a “b” rating in a report on Wednesday, May 29th. Finally, BidaskClub raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, two have issued a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Hallmark Financial Services currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $16.67.

In other news, CEO Naveen Anand acquired 6,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 14th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $16.38 per share, with a total value of $106,470.00. Following the completion of the acquisition, the chief executive officer now owns 77,400 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,267,812. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. 28.60% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of HALL. Cove Street Capital LLC raised its position in Hallmark Financial Services by 1.4% in the first quarter. Cove Street Capital LLC now owns 1,685,981 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $17,534,000 after acquiring an additional 23,373 shares in the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its position in Hallmark Financial Services by 29.7% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 945,386 shares of the insurance provider’s stock worth $13,453,000 after acquiring an additional 216,369 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its position in shares of Hallmark Financial Services by 14.5% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 942,492 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $13,412,000 after buying an additional 119,387 shares in the last quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. increased its position in shares of Hallmark Financial Services by 5.1% in the second quarter. Russell Investments Group Ltd. now owns 794,429 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $11,303,000 after buying an additional 38,329 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Bank of Montreal Can increased its position in shares of Hallmark Financial Services by 0.8% in the second quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 608,812 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $8,664,000 after buying an additional 5,051 shares in the last quarter. 65.42% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of NASDAQ HALL traded up $0.37 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $18.47. 1,698 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 112,634. The company has a quick ratio of 0.51, a current ratio of 0.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30. The stock has a 50 day simple moving average of $16.51 and a 200-day simple moving average of $13.10. Hallmark Financial Services has a 1-year low of $9.48 and a 1-year high of $18.43. The firm has a market cap of $316.97 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 18.29 and a beta of 0.56.

Hallmark Financial Services (NASDAQ:HALL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, August 7th. The insurance provider reported $0.42 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate 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 firm had revenue of $112.29 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $106.75 million. Analysts anticipate that Hallmark Financial Services will post 1.43 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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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