Lakeland Financial (NASDAQ:LKFN) Raised to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lakeland Financial (NASDAQ:LKFN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $71.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in general banking business. “

Separately, Stephens restated an equal weight rating and issued a $58.91 price objective (down from $70.00) on shares of Lakeland Financial in a report on Tuesday, July 27th.

Shares of NASDAQ LKFN opened at $66.83 on Wednesday. The company’s 50 day simple moving average is $65.83 and its 200 day simple moving average is $65.25. Lakeland Financial has a fifty-two week low of $39.38 and a fifty-two week high of $77.05. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 18.01 and a beta of 0.85. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.11, a current ratio of 0.90 and a quick ratio of 0.90.

Lakeland Financial (NASDAQ:LKFN) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Sunday, July 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.95 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.86 by $0.09. Lakeland Financial had a net margin of 39.42% and a return on equity of 14.44%. The business had revenue of $55.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $54.25 million. Sell-side analysts expect that Lakeland Financial will post 3.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, August 5th. Shareholders of record on Friday, July 23rd were paid a $0.34 dividend. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.04%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, July 22nd. Lakeland Financial’s payout ratio is presently 41.21%.

In other Lakeland Financial news, SVP Jonathan P. Steiner sold 3,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $70.39, for a total value of $211,170.00. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now owns 2,000 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $140,780. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Kristin Pruitt sold 375 shares of the stock in a transaction on Friday, September 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $68.00, for a total transaction of $25,500.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 6,625 shares of company stock valued at $471,423 in the last ninety days. Insiders own 4.40% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Lakeland Financial by 0.3% during the second quarter. BKD Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 62,640 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $3,862,000 after acquiring an additional 167 shares in the last quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its position in shares of Lakeland Financial by 0.4% during the second quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 47,917 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $2,954,000 after acquiring an additional 209 shares in the last quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. boosted its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 2.8% during the second quarter. Advisor Group Holdings Inc. now owns 8,675 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $535,000 after purchasing an additional 233 shares during the last quarter. Royal Bank of Canada boosted its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 8.1% during the second quarter. Royal Bank of Canada now owns 4,304 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $266,000 after purchasing an additional 321 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Prudential Financial Inc. boosted its holdings in Lakeland Financial by 9.5% during the second quarter. Prudential Financial Inc. now owns 3,745 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $231,000 after purchasing an additional 326 shares during the last quarter. 74.09% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About Lakeland Financial

Lakeland Financial Corp. is a bank holding company, which engages in the provision of banking products and services. It offers commercial and consumer banking, trust and wealth management, brokerage, and treasury management commercial services. The company was founded on February 8, 1983 and is headquartered in Warsaw, IN.

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