Hallmark Financial Services Stock Upgraded (HALL)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Hallmark Financial Services (Nasdaq: HALL) has been upgraded by TheStreet Ratings from sell to hold. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including feeble growth in the company's earnings per share, deteriorating net income and disappointing return on equity.

Highlights from the ratings report include:
  • HALL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 5.0%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 9.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • HALL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.29 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels.
  • The share price of HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES has not done very well: it is down 16.77% and has underperformed the S&P 500, in part reflecting the company's sharply declining earnings per share when compared to the year-earlier quarter. The fact that the stock is now selling for less than others in its industry in relation to its current earnings is not reason enough to justify a buy rating at this time.
  • The gross profit margin for HALLMARK FINANCIAL SERVICES is currently extremely low, coming in at 4.10%. It has decreased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 0.10% trails that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $4.02 million or 65.03% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing to the industry average, the firm's growth rate is much lower.
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Hallmark Financial Services, Inc., an insurance holding company, engages in marketing, distributing, underwriting, and servicing property/casualty insurance products. Hallmark Financial Services has a market cap of $136.8 million and is part of the financial sector and insurance industry. Shares are up 2.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Thursday.

You can view the full Hallmark Financial Services Ratings Report or get investment ideas from our investment research center.
-- Written by a member of TheStreet RatingsStaff
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