Hallmark Upped to Strong Buy - Analyst Blog

A pen and a pair of glasses on top of a graph
Credit: Shutterstock photo

On May 15, 2014, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Hallmark Financial Services Inc. ( HALL ) to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Why the Upgrade?

Hallmark has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong first-quarter 2014 results reported on May 8, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a massive 360%. This drove a bullish sentiment on the stock, leading to a 100% increase in the Zacks Consensus Estimate for full-year 2014 to 30 cents per share over the last 7 days. Moreover, this property and casualty insurer has delivered positive earnings surprises in the last three quarters with an average beat of almost 160%.

Apart from beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate, earnings improved almost 156% year over year. Growth across the profitable and contracting lines of businesses mainly led to the upside.

Although the top line suffered a decline, it was mitigated by decreases in loss and loss adjustment expenses as well as other operating expenses, leading to margin expansion.

Additionally, the first quarter marked the third consecutive quarter of underwriting profits for Hallmark, mainly attributable to a solid performance by the Specialty Commercial segment. In fact, this segment has been delivering outstanding results over the past three years. The financial position of the company also remained strong after the first quarter with an increase in book value, cash and cash equivalents and total assets.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other players in the property and casualty insurance space that look attractive at current levels include Alleghany Corp. ( Y ), Endurance Specialty Holdings Inc. ( ENH ) and AmTrust Financial Services Inc. ( AFSI ). While AmTrust and Endurance Specialty sport the same Zacks Rank as Hallmark, Alleghany carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

AMTRUST FIN SVC (AFSI): Free Stock Analysis Report

ENDURANCE SPLTY (ENH): Free Stock Analysis Report

HALLMARK FINL (HALL): Free Stock Analysis Report

ALLEGHANY CORP (Y): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on click here.

Zacks Investment Research

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

In This Story


Other Topics


Latest Markets Videos


    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at

    Learn More