ValuEngine upgraded shares of Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note released on Friday.

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. BidaskClub upgraded Lazard from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, June 21st. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Lazard from a hold rating to a buy rating and set a $50.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Wednesday, June 7th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a buy rating and issued a $51.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a report on Tuesday, May 9th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group restated a buy rating and issued a $50.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a report on Friday, April 21st. Four analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and two have issued a strong buy rating to the stock. Lazard currently has a consensus rating of Buy and an average target price of $46.89.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) opened at 46.71 on Friday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.36 and its 200-day moving average is $44.56. The firm has a market capitalization of $5.72 billion, a PE ratio of 13.23 and a beta of 1.84. Lazard has a 12 month low of $33.42 and a 12 month high of $48.86.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The asset manager reported $0.98 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.80 by $0.18. Lazard had a return on equity of 39.59% and a net margin of 17.39%. The firm had revenue of $720.16 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $627.12 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.61 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 32.8% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities research analysts expect that Lazard will post $3.43 EPS for the current year.

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The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 18th. Shareholders of record on Monday, August 7th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, August 3rd. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.51%. Lazard’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 46.46%.

In other Lazard news, COO Alexander F. Stern sold 65,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.75, for a total transaction of $2,908,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Matthieu Bucaille sold 90,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, May 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $44.81, for a total value of $4,032,900.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 190,000 shares of company stock worth $8,521,200. Corporate insiders own 2.50% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Norges Bank bought a new position in shares of Lazard during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $26,117,000. CENTRAL TRUST Co increased its position in shares of Lazard by 558.7% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 3,537 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $163,000 after buying an additional 3,000 shares during the period. Weaver C. Barksdale & Associates Inc. bought a new position in shares of Lazard during the first quarter valued at approximately $648,000. Sheets Smith Wealth Management bought a new position in shares of Lazard during the first quarter valued at approximately $1,334,000. Finally, WCM Investment Management CA increased its position in shares of Lazard by 6.2% in the first quarter. WCM Investment Management CA now owns 6,161,175 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $283,353,000 after buying an additional 359,974 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 73.66% of the company’s stock.

About Lazard

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients.

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Analyst Recommendations for Lazard (NYSE:LAZ)

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