Why the Upgrade?
Hallmark Financial has been witnessing rising earnings estimates on the back of strong second-quarter 2015 results and the latest business expansion effort. Moreover, thes property and casualty insurer delivered positive earnings surprises for three straight quarters with an average beat of a whopping 136.7%.
Hallmark Financial Services delivered net earnings of 33 cents per share in the second quarter that breezed past the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 7 cents. Earnings improved nearly fourfold from 9 cents earned in the year-ago quarter.
The outperformance came on the back of higher premiums and investment income that also fueled improvement in the top line. The quarter witnessed solid underwriting results thanks to its prudent underwriting practices, positive rate momentum and effective capital deployment.
While operating cash flow more than doubled, cash and investments improved over 2014 end level. Book value per share also exhibited increase improvement year over year.
Additionally, to fortify its operational performance, recently the company launched a new operating unit - Hallmark Specialty Property. This unit will initially offer excess and surplus commercial property insurance products to ramp up the company's Specialty and Commercial segment's business.
The company's strong operational performance and decent expansion efforts have led to upward estimate revisions. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2015 increased 28.8% to $1.03 per share in the last 30 days.
Other Stocks to Consider
Other property and casualty insurers with the same Zacks Rank as Hallmark Financial such as First American Financial Corporation FAF , NMI Holdings, Inc. NMIH and Selective Insurance Group Inc. SIGI are worth considering.