Waddell & Reed Financial (WDR) Rating Lowered to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Waddell & Reed's shares have outperformed the industry over the past six months. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. The company’s initiative to boost revenues has started bearing fruits. Its focus on strengthening the Broker-Dealer channel will likely lead to an increase in asset inflows as well as top-line growth. However, as the company continues to invest in franchise, operating expenses are likely to remain elevated, thereby hurting bottom-line growth. Also, declining trend in assets under management (AUM) remains a major concern for the company.”

A number of other research analysts also recently commented on WDR. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $23.00 target price on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial in a research report on Wednesday, August 1st. ValuEngine upgraded Waddell & Reed Financial from a “strong sell” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 8th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and four have given a hold rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Sell” and an average price target of $20.75.

WDR traded down $0.06 during trading on Friday, reaching $19.70. 926,183 shares of the company traded hands, compared to its average volume of 1,015,810. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.11, a current ratio of 3.99 and a quick ratio of 1.75. Waddell & Reed Financial has a 12-month low of $17.53 and a 12-month high of $23.82. The firm has a market cap of $1.69 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.26, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.28 and a beta of 1.84.

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 31st. The asset manager reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.48 by $0.07. Waddell & Reed Financial had a net margin of 13.47% and a return on equity of 19.29%. The business had revenue of $295.34 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $288.92 million. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.29 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 3.0% on a year-over-year basis. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Waddell & Reed Financial will post 2.2 earnings per share for the current year.

In other news, Director Alan W. Kosloff sold 19,614 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, September 12th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.42, for a total transaction of $400,517.88. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 22,184 shares in the company, valued at approximately $452,997.28. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. 3.40% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Laurion Capital Management LP bought a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial in the second quarter worth $191,000. Neuburgh Advisers LLC lifted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 34.2% in the second quarter. Neuburgh Advisers LLC now owns 11,044 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $198,000 after buying an additional 2,816 shares during the last quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC lifted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 34.0% in the second quarter. Riverhead Capital Management LLC now owns 12,621 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $227,000 after buying an additional 3,200 shares during the last quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC lifted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 34.2% in the second quarter. Tyers Asset Management LLC now owns 14,056 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $253,000 after buying an additional 3,584 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Element Capital Management LLC bought a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial in the first quarter worth $290,000. Institutional investors own 98.16% of the company’s stock.

About Waddell & Reed Financial

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides investment management and advisory, investment product underwriting and distribution, and shareholder services administration to mutual funds, and institutional and separately managed accounts in the United States. The company acts as an investment adviser for institutional and other private investors, and provides sub advisory services to other investment companies; and underwrites and distributes registered open-end mutual fund portfolios.

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