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

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.”

Other equities analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. Deutsche Bank cut their price target on shares of Franklin Resources from $30.00 to $29.00 and set a hold rating on the stock in a report on Friday, November 16th. UBS Group cut their price target on shares of Franklin Resources from $34.00 to $33.00 and set a neutral rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 8th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Franklin Resources from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a report on Tuesday, November 20th. Morgan Stanley set a $29.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, November 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut their price target on shares of Franklin Resources from $28.00 to $26.00 and set an underperform rating on the stock in a report on Friday, October 26th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and seven have issued a hold rating to the company. The stock currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $34.18.

BEN opened at $32.24 on Wednesday. Franklin Resources has a 52-week low of $28.12 and a 52-week high of $45.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07, a quick ratio of 3.71 and a current ratio of 3.71. The stock has a market cap of $16.54 billion, a PE ratio of 10.11, a P/E/G ratio of 1.35 and a beta of 1.30.

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

In other news, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 10,216 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 3rd. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.26, for a total transaction of $350,000.16. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 4,820 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.85, for a total transaction of $158,337.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 56,369 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,851,721.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 338,036 shares of company stock worth $10,979,997. 22.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the company. Captrust Financial Advisors grew its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 605.1% during the 2nd quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 3,187 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $103,000 after purchasing an additional 2,735 shares during the period. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC purchased a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the 3rd quarter valued at approximately $100,000. Focused Wealth Management Inc purchased a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the 2nd quarter valued at approximately $131,000. Dupont Capital Management Corp lifted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 61.2% during the 2nd quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 4,168 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $134,000 after buying an additional 1,582 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC lifted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 196.4% during the 3rd quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 4,301 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $131,000 after buying an additional 2,850 shares in the last quarter. 47.83% of the stock is currently 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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