Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Thursday, January 11th. The firm currently has a $49.00 price target on the closed-end fund’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective would suggest a potential upside of 19.86% from the company’s current price.

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. We remain optimistic as strategic acquisitions and solid distribution platform have well positioned the company for growth. Further, management continues with cost-control measures. Also, its involvement in steady capital deployment activities boosts shareholders’ confidence. However, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may affect the company’s performance and hurt profitability.”

A number of other equities analysts have also recently commented on BEN. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Wells Fargo & Co reduced their target price on shares of Franklin Resources from $50.00 to $48.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup reduced their target price on shares of Franklin Resources from $45.00 to $44.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group upped their price objective on shares of Franklin Resources from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of Franklin Resources from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, November 17th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $44.45.

Franklin Resources (NYSE BEN) traded down $1.19 during mid-day trading on Thursday, reaching $40.88. 3,831,607 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 3,203,499. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.09, a quick ratio of 8.75 and a current ratio of 4.28. Franklin Resources has a 1 year low of $39.52 and a 1 year high of $47.65. The company has a market capitalization of $23,397.75 and a PE ratio of 34.94.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, January 30th. The closed-end fund reported $0.88 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.13. Franklin Resources had a net margin of 10.44% and a return on equity of 13.88%. The firm had revenue of $1.62 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.62 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.77 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post 3.24 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In other news, Vice Chairman Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. sold 400,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.95, for a total value of $17,180,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, Chairman Gregory E. Johnson sold 49,988 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, December 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.58, for a total value of $2,178,477.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the chairman now directly owns 2,116,886 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $92,253,891.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders have sold 457,778 shares of company stock valued at $19,700,614. Insiders own 22.20% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in BEN. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its holdings in Franklin Resources by 225.5% in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,153,748 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $140,499,000 after acquiring an additional 2,184,863 shares during the last quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. boosted its holdings in Franklin Resources by 138.7% in the third quarter. Ameriprise Financial Inc. now owns 3,372,129 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $150,106,000 after acquiring an additional 1,959,427 shares during the last quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. boosted its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 57.3% during the 3rd quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 3,906,627 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $173,884,000 after buying an additional 1,422,900 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 35.9% during the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,874,451 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $216,961,000 after buying an additional 1,288,818 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Nordea Investment Management AB boosted its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 70.2% during the 2nd quarter. Nordea Investment Management AB now owns 1,689,754 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $75,684,000 after buying an additional 696,730 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 44.87% of the company’s stock.

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About Franklin Resources

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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