NewStar Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:NEWS) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The brokerage currently has a $11.00 price target on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s target price would suggest a potential upside of 15.55% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “NEWSTAR FINANCIAL INC is a specialized commercial finance company focused on meeting the complex financing needs of companies and private investors in the middle markets. The Company specializes in providing senior secured debt financing for the acquisition or recapitalization of mid-sized companies and commercial real estate. NewStar originates loans directly through a team of experienced, senior bankers organized around key industry and market segments. The Company targets ‘hold’ positions of up to $20 million and selectively underwrites or arranges larger transactions for syndication to other lenders. NewStar is headquartered in Boston, MA and has regional offices in Darien, CT, Chicago, IL, San Diego, CA, and Charleston, SC. “

NewStar Financial (NASDAQ:NEWS) opened at 9.52 on Friday. NewStar Financial has a one year low of $6.44 and a one year high of $11.37. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $9.12 and its 200-day moving average price is $9.53. The stock has a market capitalization of $407.45 million, a PE ratio of 15.61 and a beta of 1.94.

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NewStar Financial (NASDAQ:NEWS) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 14th. The company reported $0.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.15 by $0.08. NewStar Financial had a return on equity of 3.34% and a net margin of 7.76%. Analysts expect that NewStar Financial will post $0.78 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently declared an annual dividend, which will be paid on Friday, March 17th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, March 2nd will be issued a dividend of $0.02 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, February 28th.

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In other NewStar Financial news, Director Bradley E. Cooper sold 13,246 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $9.19, for a total transaction of $121,730.74. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Insiders own 9.55% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC raised its stake in NewStar Financial by 85.8% in the second quarter. Wedge Capital Management L L P NC now owns 63,365 shares of the company’s stock valued at $367,000 after buying an additional 29,265 shares in the last quarter. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. NY bought a new stake in NewStar Financial during the second quarter valued at about $152,000. Sippican Capital Advisors raised its stake in NewStar Financial by 1.2% in the third quarter. Sippican Capital Advisors now owns 241,958 shares of the company’s stock valued at $2,349,000 after buying an additional 2,800 shares in the last quarter. State Street Corp raised its stake in NewStar Financial by 2.1% in the fourth quarter. State Street Corp now owns 429,588 shares of the company’s stock valued at $3,974,000 after buying an additional 8,902 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its stake in NewStar Financial by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 2,491,388 shares of the company’s stock valued at $23,045,000 after buying an additional 26,103 shares in the last quarter. 81.93% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About NewStar Financial

NewStar Financial, Inc (NewStar) is a commercial finance company with specialized lending platforms focused on meeting the financing needs of companies and private investors in the middle market. The Company and its wholly owned investment management subsidiary, NewStar Capital LLC, are registered investment advisors and provide asset management services to institutional investors.

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