Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources have underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the trailing four quarters. Strategic acquisitions, solid distribution platform and cost-control measures have well positioned the company for growth. Notably, Franklin entered into a joint venture with Asia Alternatives Management LLC, to form a new entity — Franklin Templeton Private Equity, LLC (“FTPE”) — which is expected to start operating from October 2018. Also, steady capital-deployment activities boost shareholders’ confidence. However, 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.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Jefferies Financial Group restated a “hold” rating and set a $33.00 target price on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Friday, July 13th. Deutsche Bank dropped their target price on Franklin Resources from $33.00 to $32.00 and set a “hold” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, August 16th. Wells Fargo & Co dropped their target price on Franklin Resources from $35.00 to $34.00 and set a “market perform” rating for the company in a research report on Monday, July 30th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Franklin Resources from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and dropped their target price for the stock from $32.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Thursday, September 6th. Finally, Morgan Stanley dropped their target price on Franklin Resources from $32.00 to $30.00 and set an “underweight” rating for the company in a research report on Thursday, August 2nd. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have given a hold rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $37.25.

BEN stock opened at $31.03 on Wednesday. The firm has a market cap of $16.67 billion, a PE ratio of 10.31, a PEG ratio of 1.64 and a beta of 1.52. Franklin Resources has a twelve month low of $29.95 and a twelve month high of $45.96. The company has a quick ratio of 3.37, a current ratio of 3.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The closed-end fund reported $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75. The company had revenue of $1.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.57 billion. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 15.40% and a net margin of 10.72%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 3.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $0.73 earnings per share. equities research analysts predict that Franklin Resources will post 3.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 11,165 shares of Franklin Resources stock in a transaction on Tuesday, September 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.35, for a total transaction of $350,022.75. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, 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 directly owns 56,369 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,851,721.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 22.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Sciencast Management LP grew its stake in Franklin Resources by 6.6% in the first quarter. Sciencast Management LP now owns 25,001 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $849,000 after acquiring an additional 1,538 shares during the period. Wesbanco Bank Inc. grew its stake in Franklin Resources by 9.7% in the first quarter. Wesbanco Bank Inc. now owns 17,566 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $609,000 after acquiring an additional 1,554 shares during the period. Dupont Capital Management Corp grew its stake in Franklin Resources by 61.2% in the second quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 4,168 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $134,000 after acquiring an additional 1,582 shares during the period. World Asset Management Inc grew its stake in Franklin Resources by 6.7% in the second quarter. World Asset Management Inc now owns 26,689 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $855,000 after acquiring an additional 1,672 shares during the period. Finally, IFG Advisory LLC grew its stake in Franklin Resources by 9.8% in the second quarter. IFG Advisory LLC now owns 18,830 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $603,000 after acquiring an additional 1,676 shares during the period. 46.79% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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.

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