Franklin Resources (BEN) Stock Rating Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research note published on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources have underperformed the industry year to date. However, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Sep 30) earnings reflected prudent expense management. However, reduced revenues and assets under management (AUM) were major drags. Though strategic acquisitions, solid distribution platform and cost-control measures have well positioned the company for growth, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions might affect the company’s performance and dampen profitability. Further, persistent fall in investment management fees are expected to hurt revenue growth to some extent.”

A number of other research firms have also weighed in on BEN. Deutsche Bank lowered their price objective on Franklin Resources from $30.00 to $29.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 16th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Franklin Resources from a neutral rating to an underweight rating and reduced their target price for the company from $32.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Thursday, September 6th. Credit Suisse Group reduced their target price on Franklin Resources from $28.00 to $26.00 and set an underperform rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 26th. UBS Group reduced their target price on Franklin Resources from $34.00 to $33.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a research report on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $29.00 target price on Franklin Resources and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 14th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and seven have issued a hold rating to the stock. Franklin Resources has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $34.18.

NYSE BEN opened at $32.24 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $16.69 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 10.11, a P/E/G ratio of 1.36 and a beta of 1.30. The company has a current ratio of 3.71, a quick ratio of 3.71 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07. Franklin Resources has a fifty-two week low of $28.12 and a fifty-two week high of $45.96.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 25th. The closed-end fund reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.39. The company had revenue of $1.53 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.55 billion. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 16.26% and a net margin of 12.10%. Equities analysts anticipate that Franklin Resources will post 2.81 EPS for the current year.

In other Franklin Resources news, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 4,820 shares of Franklin Resources stock in a transaction on Friday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.85, for a total value of $158,337.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 56,369 shares in the company, valued at $1,851,721.65. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 10,216 shares of Franklin Resources stock in a transaction on Monday, December 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.26, for a total value of $350,000.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 338,036 shares of company stock worth $10,979,997 in the last 90 days. Company insiders own 22.20% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Vanguard Group Inc. raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 17.1% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 32,666,942 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $993,402,000 after buying an additional 4,764,162 shares during the period. Abrams Capital Management L.P. raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 25.2% in the 3rd quarter. Abrams Capital Management L.P. now owns 9,945,023 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $302,428,000 after buying an additional 2,000,000 shares during the period. Kiltearn Partners LLP raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 0.6% in the 3rd quarter. Kiltearn Partners LLP now owns 8,089,794 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $246,011,000 after buying an additional 50,694 shares during the period. Bank of New York Mellon Corp raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 27.4% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,340,194 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $131,985,000 after buying an additional 932,439 shares during the period. Finally, Fiduciary Management Inc. WI purchased a new stake in shares of Franklin Resources in the 3rd quarter valued at $126,946,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 47.83% of the company’s stock.

Franklin Resources Company Profile

Franklin Resources, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides its services to individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, and partnerships. It launches equity, fixed income, balanced, and multi-asset mutual funds through its subsidiaries.

Further Reading: Return on Equity (ROE)

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