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

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Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report released on Monday morning, Zacks.com reports. They currently have $38.00 target price on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Legg Mason have outperformed the industry over the past six months. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. First-quarter fiscal 2020 results reflect lower expenses, partially offset by fall in revenues. Legg Mason's strategic acquisitions are anticipated to boost top-line growth. Further, its focus on expanding product offerings bode well for the long term. Also, increasing revenues due to higher assets under management remain a tailwind. However, continued equity AUM outflows may pose a threat to achieving steady overall net inflows. Elevated costs due to investment in restructuring activities and rising compensation costs might deter bottom line growth. Also, unsustainable capital deployment activities keep us apprehensive.”

A number of other analysts have also recently commented on the stock. Morgan Stanley set a $27.00 target price on shares of Legg Mason and gave the stock a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, May 16th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their target price on shares of Legg Mason to $39.00 and gave the stock an in-line rating in a research note on Tuesday, May 14th. ValuEngine cut shares of Legg Mason from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Thursday, August 1st. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on shares of Legg Mason from $39.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, August 6th. Finally, Evercore ISI reiterated a hold rating and issued a $36.00 target price on shares of Legg Mason in a research note on Tuesday, August 13th. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have issued a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $34.09.

Shares of Legg Mason stock opened at $37.16 on Monday. The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $37.80 and its 200-day moving average price is $33.90. The company has a quick ratio of 1.41, a current ratio of 2.01 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.61. Legg Mason has a 52-week low of $23.25 and a 52-week high of $38.94. The company has a market cap of $3.20 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.22, a PEG ratio of 0.70 and a beta of 1.49.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last released its earnings results on Thursday, August 1st. The asset manager reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.72 by $0.03. The company had revenue of $705.36 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $708.70 million. Legg Mason had a negative net margin of 1.72% and a positive return on equity of 7.24%. Legg Mason’s revenue for the quarter was down 5.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.75 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts forecast that Legg Mason will post 3.64 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 28th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, October 10th will be paid a dividend of $0.40 per share. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.31%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, October 9th. Legg Mason’s payout ratio is 52.63%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in LM. Trust Co. of Vermont acquired a new stake in Legg Mason during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $31,000. Hillsdale Investment Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Legg Mason in the 2nd quarter valued at $42,000. TD Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Legg Mason in the 2nd quarter valued at $59,000. C M Bidwell & Associates Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of Legg Mason in the 2nd quarter valued at $62,000. Finally, Machina Capital S.A.S. lifted its stake in shares of Legg Mason by 19.0% in the 2nd quarter. Machina Capital S.A.S. now owns 2,650 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $100,000 after purchasing an additional 424 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 81.80% of the company’s stock.

Legg Mason Company Profile

Legg Mason, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides investment management and related services to company-sponsored mutual funds and other investment vehicles including pension funds, foundations, endowments, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, private banks, family offices, individuals, as well as to global, institutional, and retail clients.

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