Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday, November 10th.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Legg Mason have outperformed the industry year to date. The company has displayed a decent earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Legg Mason’s second-quarter fiscal 2018 results reflected top-line strength and steady assets under management (AUM), partially offset by higher expenses. The company’s strategic acquisitions over the last few years, are anticipated to boost top-line growth. Further, its steady capital deployment activities will continue enhancing shareholders’ value. However, continued equity AUM outflows in the coming years can be a headwind. Also, escalating compensation expenses may hinder the company's bottom-line growth.”

Several other brokerages also recently issued reports on LM. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Legg Mason from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Monday, July 31st. Credit Suisse Group upped their price target on shares of Legg Mason from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Deutsche Bank initiated coverage on Legg Mason in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. They issued a buy rating and a $44.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley downgraded Legg Mason from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating and decreased their price objective for the company from $37.00 to $36.00 in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, Citigroup restated a neutral rating and issued a $41.00 price objective (down from $43.00) on shares of Legg Mason in a report on Friday, August 11th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $43.10.

Shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) traded up $1.10 during trading hours on Friday, hitting $39.81. The stock had a trading volume of 920,454 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,080,243. The company has a current ratio of 2.51, a quick ratio of 1.79 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56. The company has a market capitalization of $3,585.56, a PE ratio of 13.59, a PEG ratio of 0.91 and a beta of 2.27. Legg Mason has a 12 month low of $29.71 and a 12 month high of $42.08.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last released its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The asset manager reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.10. Legg Mason had a return on equity of 7.16% and a net margin of 8.46%. The firm had revenue of $768.30 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $739.47 million. During the same period in the prior year, the company earned $0.63 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. analysts forecast that Legg Mason will post 2.84 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, December 20th will be given a dividend of $0.28 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 19th. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 2.81%. Legg Mason’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 43.75%.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank lifted its position in Legg Mason by 10.1% in the 2nd quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 3,193 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $122,000 after acquiring an additional 294 shares in the last quarter. QCM Cayman Ltd. bought a new position in shares of Legg Mason during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $200,000. Gotham Asset Management LLC bought a new position in shares of Legg Mason during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $212,000. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. bought a new position in shares of Legg Mason during the 3rd quarter worth approximately $224,000. Finally, Institute for Wealth Management LLC. bought a new position in shares of Legg Mason during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $224,000. 82.58% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Legg Mason Company Profile

Legg Mason, Inc is a holding company. The Company and its subsidiaries are principally engaged in providing asset management and related financial services to individuals, institutions, corporations and municipalities. The Company operates through Global Asset Management segment. Global Asset Management provides investment advisory services to institutional and individual clients and to the Company-sponsored investment funds.

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