Legg Mason (LM) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Strong-Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report released on Tuesday morning. The brokerage currently has $48.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Legg Mason have outperformed the industry year to date. The company has displayed an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s strategic acquisitions over the last few years, are anticipated to boost top-line growth. Also, Legg Mason’s cost control measures will provide support to its financials. Though, continued equity AUM outflows in the coming years can be a headwind, the company's focus on expanding product offerings for its customers bode well for the long-term.”

Several other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on the stock. Royal Bank of Canada set a $49.00 price objective on shares of Legg Mason and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 15th. Credit Suisse Group upped their price objective 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 began coverage on shares of 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 shares of Legg Mason from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating and cut their price target for the company from $37.00 to $36.00 in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of Legg Mason in a report on Friday, September 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Buy and an average target price of $43.80.

Shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) opened at $42.11 on Tuesday. The firm has a market cap of $3,851.26, a PE ratio of 16.45, a P/E/G ratio of 0.98 and a beta of 2.27. Legg Mason has a 1-year low of $29.71 and a 1-year high of $42.41. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 2.51 and a quick ratio of 1.79.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last posted its quarterly earnings data 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. The business had revenue of $768.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $739.47 million. Legg Mason had a net margin of 8.46% and a return on equity of 7.16%. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 2.7% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.63 earnings per share. analysts forecast that Legg Mason will post 2.84 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, December 20th will be issued a $0.28 dividend. This represents a $1.12 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.66%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 19th. Legg Mason’s payout ratio is 43.75%.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of LM. Sei Investments Co. lifted its holdings in Legg Mason by 204.8% in the 2nd quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 34,185 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $1,305,000 after acquiring an additional 22,968 shares during the last quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. raised its holdings in Legg Mason by 2.9% during the 2nd quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 363,061 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $13,855,000 after buying an additional 10,186 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP raised its holdings in Legg Mason by 495.8% during the 2nd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 136,639 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $5,214,000 after buying an additional 113,704 shares during the period. Legal & General Group Plc raised its holdings in Legg Mason by 7.5% during the 2nd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 132,305 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $5,049,000 after buying an additional 9,232 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its holdings in Legg Mason by 58.9% during the 2nd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 39,569 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $1,510,000 after buying an additional 14,673 shares during the period. 82.49% of the stock is 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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