Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) Lifted to Strong-Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a research note issued to investors on Tuesday, December 26th. The brokerage currently has a $48.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price indicates a potential upside of 9.74% from the stock’s previous close.

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.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on LM. Morgan Stanley downgraded Legg Mason from an “equal weight” rating to an “underweight” rating and dropped their price target for the stock from $37.00 to $36.00 in a research note on Thursday, October 5th. Royal Bank of Canada set a $49.00 target price on Legg Mason and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, December 15th. Credit Suisse Group lifted their target price on Legg Mason from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Thursday, October 26th. Deutsche Bank began coverage on Legg Mason in a research report on Tuesday, October 17th. They set a “buy” rating and a $44.00 target price on the stock. Finally, Barclays began coverage on Legg Mason in a research report on Friday, September 8th. They set an “equal weight” rating and a $39.00 target price on the stock. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, five have given a hold rating, four have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $43.90.

Legg Mason (NYSE LM) opened at $43.74 on Tuesday. Legg Mason has a 52-week low of $30.81 and a 52-week high of $43.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a current ratio of 2.51 and a quick ratio of 1.79. The stock has a market capitalization of $4,020.00, a P/E ratio of 17.09, a PEG ratio of 1.02 and a beta of 2.27.

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, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.10. The company had revenue of $768.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $739.47 million. Legg Mason had a return on equity of 7.16% and a net margin of 8.46%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.63 EPS. research analysts expect that Legg Mason will post 2.94 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of LM. KAMES CAPITAL plc boosted its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 20.5% in the fourth quarter. KAMES CAPITAL plc now owns 82,530 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $3,464,000 after purchasing an additional 14,040 shares during the period. Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. boosted its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 3.2% in the fourth quarter. Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. now owns 527,188 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $22,131,000 after purchasing an additional 16,107 shares during the period. First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. purchased a new stake in shares of Legg Mason in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $312,000. Hutchens Investment Management Inc purchased a new stake in shares of Legg Mason in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $251,000. Finally, AXA boosted its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 96.6% in the third quarter. AXA now owns 253,400 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $9,961,000 after purchasing an additional 124,500 shares during the period. 82.49% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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About Legg Mason

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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