equity model upgraded the following three small-cap financial shares, two of which have lagged behind stock-market benchmarks. They trade at discounts to rivals and offer yields as high as 5.8%, more than most large-cap financials.
The model upgraded
, a savings bank and mortgage lender, to "buy."
: Fourth-quarter profit more than doubled to $1.2 million, or 46 cents a share, as revenue declined 3.5%. The operating margin widened from 13% to 23%. TF has $13 million of cash and $80 million of debt, amounting to a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.1.
: TF Financial has risen 1.5% during the past year, underperforming U.S. stock-market indices. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 9.6 and a price-to-book ratio of 0.7, 75% and 48% discounts to peer averages. The shares offer a 4.2% dividend yield.
: No analysts cover TF Financial. Five of its 10 largest shareholders, four of whom are company insiders, increased their holdings during the fourth quarter. Two top shareholders retained the size of their positions and three decreased them.
The model upgraded insurer
Hallmark Financial Services
: Hallmark swung to a fourth-quarter profit of $9.3 million, or 46 cents, from a loss of $2.4 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier. Revenue increased 22%. The operating margin stretched to 18%. Hallmark has $117 million of cash and $60 million of debt.
: Hallmark has appreciated 43% during the past 12 months, more than the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
S&P 500 Index
. It sells for a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 10 and a price-to-book ratio of 0.9, 16% and 23% discounts to peer averages.
: Of analysts following Hallmark, two advise purchasing its shares and two recommend holding them.
, which rates Hallmark "buy," expects the stock to advance 41% to $14.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
thinks it will hit $10.
The model upgraded retail REIT
Urstadt Biddle Properties
: Fiscal first-quarter profit decreased 6.8% to $6.4 million, or 12 cents, as revenue declined 4.1% to $21 million. The operating margin inched up to 41%. Urstadt has $5.9 million of cash and $111 million of debt, equal to a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.3.
: Urstadt has increased 7.4% during the past year, lagging behind benchmarks. It trades at a price-to-projected-earnings ratio of 29 and a price-to-book ratio of 1.2, 53% and 43% discounts to peer averages. The shares offer a 5.8% distribution yield.
: Of firms rating Urstadt Biddle, one rates its stock "buy" and two rate it "hold."
predicts the stock will gain 8% to $18. Five of its 10 largest shareholders, including Bank of America, purchased shares during the fourth quarter.
-- Reported by Jake Lynch in Boston.