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Hilltop Holdings (HTH) Misses on Q4 Earnings, Stock Down

Zacks Equity Research

Hilltop Holdings Inc.’s HTH shares have declined 1.5% as the company delivered a negative earnings surprise of 23.4% in fourth-quarter 2016 results. The company’s operating earnings per share of 36 cents lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 47 cents. However, the reported figure represents an increase of 71.4% year over year.

Higher expenses and a rise in provision for loan losses were primarily responsible for the lower-than-expected results. However, the company witnessed an improvement in revenues during the quarter. Further, the balance sheet remained strong.

Net income applicable to common stockholders came in at $35.2 million, up 70.4% year over year. Fourth-quarter results included a specific legal reserve of $16.0 million.

Moreover, the company reported full-year operating earnings per share of $1.48, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.72. Further, the figure was down 29.2% year over year. Net income applicable to common shareholders for 2016 came in at $145.9 million, compared with $209.1 million recorded a year ago. Included in 2015’s figure was a bargain purchase gain related to the acquisition of SWS Group, Inc.

Revenues and Expenses Up

The company’s operating revenues for the quarter were $413 million, up 9.8% year over year. However, the figure fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $424 million.

For 2016, revenues came in at $1.68 billion, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.65 billion. Also, the figure was up 2.45% year over year.

Net interest income for the quarter increased 4.8% year over year to $104.1 million. Net interest margin was 3.80% at the end of the quarter, up 10 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter.

Non-interest income increased 11.6% year over year to $309.1 million.

Non-interest expenses increased 5% year over year to $355.8 million due to higher employees’ compensation and benefits, and other expenses.

Mixed Credit Quality

Provision for loan losses was $4.3 million, up 1.6% year over year. Also, non-covered non-performing assets as a percentage of total assets was 0.24%, compared with 0.21% in the prior-year quarter.

However, non-covered non-performing loans were $24.4 million, down 2.4% year over year.

Strong Balance sheet

As of Dec 31, 2016, Hilltop’s cash and due from banks was $669.4 million, up 26.6% sequentially. Further, total shareholders’ equity was $1.9 billion, compared with $1.8 billion recorded in the prior month.

Further, total assets were $12.7 billion as of Dec 31, 2016, up 2.5% sequentially. Also, total liabilities increased 2.7% from the prior-month to $10.9 billion.

Profitability and Capital Ratios Improved

Hilltop’s annualized return on average assets at the end of the reported quarter was 1.13%, up from 0.68% recorded in the prior-year quarter. Additionally, return on average equity was 7.56%, up from 4.70%.

The common equity tier 1 capital was 18.30%, up 43 bps year over year. Also, total capital ratio was 19.34%, up 45 bps year over year.

Our Viewpoint

Hilltop remains well positioned to grow organically and through acquisitions, driven by improving loan and deposit balances. Moreover, the company’s capital deployment activities through share repurchases are likely to enhance shareholder value.

However, mounting expenses and increased exposure to weather-prone areas remain near-term concerns for the company.

Hilltop Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Hilltop Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Hilltop Holdings Inc. Quote

Hilltop currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Performance of Other Banks

Among the other southeast banks, Bank of the Ozarks, Inc.’s OZRK fourth-quarter 2016 earnings of 72 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents. Further, the figure improved nearly 26.3% on a year-over-year basis.

First Horizon National Corp. FHN posted earnings per share of 23 cents for the fourth-quarter, which lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 25 cents. However, the figure represents an increase of 15% over the year-ago quarter.

Hancock Holding Company HBHC reported fourth-quarter 2016 earnings of 64 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 61 cents. Further, the reported figure is significantly higher than 19 cents per share earnings recorded in the prior-year quarter.

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