Lazard (LAZ) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Buy

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Monday, February 5th. The brokerage presently has a $67.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price target points to a potential upside of 18.63% from the stock’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Lazard have outperformed the industry over the past six months. This price performance was backed by the company’s impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings were supported by growth in assets under management (AUM).The company is well positioned to grow organically, driven by strength in its Financial Advisory and Asset Management segments. Notably, in 2016, Lazard acquired Verus Partners and the remaining stake in MBA Lazard, to fortify its financial advisory business footprint across America. Further, focus on cost management will likely enhance the company’s profitability. However, its dependence on local and global economic conditions for revenue generation and regulatory pressure can hurt top-line growth in the near term.”

LAZ has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $67.00 target price on shares of Lazard in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Nomura upped their target price on Lazard from $62.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. JMP Securities upped their target price on Lazard from $63.00 to $65.00 and gave the company a “market outperform” rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Sandler O’Neill reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 target price on shares of Lazard in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group raised Lazard from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $64.00 target price on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 8th. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $60.56.

Shares of Lazard (LAZ) opened at $56.48 on Monday. Lazard has a 52-week low of $40.50 and a 52-week high of $60.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87, a quick ratio of 2.09 and a current ratio of 2.09. The stock has a market capitalization of $7,073.55, a P/E ratio of 14.42, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.29 and a beta of 1.84.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The asset manager reported $1.12 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.92 by $0.20. Lazard had a return on equity of 38.66% and a net margin of 9.40%. The business had revenue of $683.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $658.86 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.13 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was down .3% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts predict that Lazard will post 3.99 EPS for the current year.

Lazard declared that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock repurchase program on Wednesday, October 25th that permits the company to repurchase $200.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization permits the asset manager to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase programs are typically an indication that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in LAZ. Denali Advisors LLC bought a new position in Lazard in the fourth quarter worth approximately $105,000. Advisory Services Network LLC grew its stake in Lazard by 83.2% in the fourth quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,151 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $113,000 after purchasing an additional 977 shares in the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC bought a new position in Lazard in the fourth quarter worth approximately $125,000. First Dallas Securities Inc. bought a new position in Lazard in the fourth quarter worth approximately $127,000. Finally, American International Group Inc. bought a new position in Lazard in the fourth quarter worth approximately $144,000. 71.50% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Lazard Company Profile

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients.

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