Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. Top-line strength and growth in assets under management (AUM) were witnessed in fourth-quarter fiscal 2017. Nevertheless, elevated operating expenses and net outflows remained on the downside. We remain optimistic as strategic acquisitions and solid distribution platform have well positioned the company for growth. Further, management continues with cost-control measures. Though volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may affect the company’s performance and hurt profitability, its involvement in steady capital deployment activities boosts shareholders’ confidence.”

A number of other research analysts have also recently issued reports on BEN. Deutsche Bank AG lifted their target price on Franklin Resources from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, July 4th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Thursday, July 6th. Morgan Stanley restated an “underweight” rating and set a $40.00 price target (up from $39.00) on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Monday, July 10th. BidaskClub upgraded Franklin Resources from a “buy” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Jefferies Group LLC restated a “hold” rating and set a $44.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, July 14th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and one has issued a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $44.55.

Shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE BEN) remained flat at $42.88 on Monday. The stock had a trading volume of 961,427 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $23.91 billion, a P/E ratio of 13.95 and a beta of 1.72. Franklin Resources has a 52 week low of $33.02 and a 52 week high of $47.65. The company’s 50 day moving average is $43.84 and its 200 day moving average is $43.53.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The closed-end fund reported $0.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.04. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 13.60% and a net margin of 26.54%. The firm had revenue of $1.62 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.64 billion. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.82 earnings per share. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% on a year-over-year basis. On average, analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post $2.92 earnings per share for the current year.

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Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Victory Capital Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 56.4% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 54,448 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $2,423,000 after acquiring an additional 19,626 shares during the period. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources in the third quarter worth approximately $1,520,000. Murphy Pohlad Asset Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources in the third quarter worth approximately $575,000. First Midwest Bank Trust Division lifted its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 79.5% in the third quarter. First Midwest Bank Trust Division now owns 8,150 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $363,000 after acquiring an additional 3,610 shares during the period. Finally, North Star Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 4.6% in the third quarter. North Star Asset Management Inc. now owns 80,537 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $3,394,000 after acquiring an additional 3,562 shares during the period. 45.15% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Franklin Resources Company Profile

Franklin Resources, Inc is a holding company. The Company, along with its subsidiaries, operates as Franklin Templeton Investments. It is a global investment management company that provides investment management and related services to retail, institutional and high net-worth clients in jurisdictions around the world.

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