Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL) Short Interest Up 42.2% in September

Hallmark Financial Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:HALL) was the recipient of a large increase in short interest in September. As of September 30th, there was short interest totalling 225,000 shares, an increase of 42.2% from the August 30th total of 158,200 shares. Approximately 1.3% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average daily trading volume, of 113,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 2.0 days.

In related news, CEO Naveen Anand acquired 6,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, August 14th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $16.38 per share, with a total value of $106,470.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 77,400 shares in the company, valued at $1,267,812. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. 28.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA grew its position in Hallmark Financial Services by 547.1% in the 1st quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 2,763 shares of the insurance provider’s stock valued at $29,000 after acquiring an additional 2,336 shares during the last quarter. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. bought a new position in Hallmark Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $84,000. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. bought a new position in Hallmark Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $102,000. Prudential Financial Inc. bought a new position in Hallmark Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $161,000. Finally, Bailard Inc. bought a new position in Hallmark Financial Services in the 2nd quarter valued at $185,000. 65.42% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of HALL traded up $0.23 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $19.06. 98,572 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 67,259. The company has a market cap of $339.08 million, a PE ratio of 18.87 and a beta of 0.60. Hallmark Financial Services has a 52-week low of $9.48 and a 52-week high of $20.30. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $18.30 and a two-hundred day moving average of $14.32. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.30, a quick ratio of 0.51 and a current ratio of 0.51.

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

A number of research analysts recently commented on the company. ValuEngine cut Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, August 1st. BidaskClub raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Tuesday, July 30th. Zacks Investment Research raised Hallmark Financial Services from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $18.00 price target on the stock in a report on Wednesday, August 14th. Finally, Raymond James boosted 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. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating, two have given a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $16.67.

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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