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Hilltop Holdings' (HTH) Q4 Earnings Lag Estimates, Costs Down

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Hilltop Holdings Inc.’s (HTH - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2018 earnings per share of 30 cents missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 43 cents. However, the figure compares favorably with the prior-year quarter’s earnings of 14 cents per share (including the impact of Tax Act).

Results were primarily affected by a decrease in non-interest income. In addition, capital ratios deteriorated during the quarter. However, higher net interest income and lower expenses provided some support. Further, an improvement in overall asset quality was a positive.

Net income applicable to common stockholders for the quarter under review was $28.1 million, up from $13.4 million registered in the prior-year quarter.

Earnings per share for 2018 came in at $1.28, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.44. The earnings figure also compares unfavorably with the prior-year tally of $1.36 (including the impact of Tax Act). Net income attributable to Hilltop Holdings for 2018 was $121.4 million, down from the prior-year figure of $132.5 million.

Revenues Down, Costs Decline

Net revenues for the quarter came in at $356.2 million, declining 10.8% year over year. The reported figure also lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $367.4 million.

Net revenues for 2018 were $1.46 billion, down 10.3% year over year. The figure came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Net interest income for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million, reflecting rise of 8.3% year over year. Net interest margin (taxable equivalent basis) was 3.76%, up 17 basis points (bps) from the prior-year quarter.

Non-interest income dipped 17.9% from the year-ago quarter to $238.5 million. The decline was due to a fall in all components except for mortgage loan origination fees.

Non-interest expenses decreased 5.4% year over year to $310.8 million in the fourth quarter. This downside can be attributed to a decline in all cost components except for professional services costs, net occupancy and equipment cost and loss and loss adjustment expenses.

Credit Quality: A Mixed Bag

During the quarter, the company reported provision for loan losses of $6.9 million compared to $5.5 million reported in the prior-year quarter.

Moreover, non-performing assets as a percentage of total assets were 0.45% at the end of the quarter, down 20 bps from the year-ago quarter. Furthermore, non-performing loans were nearly $33.9 million as of Dec 31, 2018, down from $45.6 million as of Dec 31, 2017.

Balance Sheet

As of Dec 31, 2018, Hilltop Holdings’ cash and due from banks was $644 million compared with $405.7 million at the prior-quarter end. Total shareholders’ equity was nearly $2 billion, marginally up from the end of the third quarter.

Total deposits were $8.5 billion, up 3% from the prior-quarter end figure.

Profitability Ratios Improve, Capital Ratios Deteriorate

Return on average assets at the end of the quarter was 0.86%, up from 0.41% witnessed in the prior-year quarter. Additionally, return on average equity was 5.76%, up from 2.78% in the year-earlier quarter.

Common equity tier 1 capital ratio was 16.58% as of Dec 31, 2018, down from 17.71% as of Dec 31, 2017. Moreover, total capital ratio was 17.47%, reflecting a decline from 18.78% reported in the prior-year quarter.

Our Take

Elevated expense levels owing to continued investments in franchise and inorganic growth strategy are likely to curb the company’s bottom-line growth. However, increasing loan demand and a strong balance sheet should keep supporting financials.

Hilltop Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


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

Hilltop Holdings currently has 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

Washington Federal’s (WAFD - Free Report) first-quarter fiscal 2019 (ended Dec 31) earnings came in at 65 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 61 cents. The figure also reflected year-over-year growth of 10.2%.

Synovus Financial’s (SNV - Free Report) fourth-quarter earnings of 92 cents per share lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 94 cents. However, the reported figure came in 27.8% higher than the prior-year tally.

Hancock Whitney Corporation’s (HWC - Free Report) fourth-quarter 2018 operating earnings per share of $1.12 missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.13. The reported figure, however, came in 30.2% higher than the year-ago tally.

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