Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has $33.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Legg Mason have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Yet, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. Also, earnings estimates have been revised upward ahead of the company's fourth-quarter fiscal 2019 results. Legg Mason’s strategic acquisitions over the past few years are anticipated to boost top-line growth. Further, the company's focus on expanding product offerings for its customers bode well for the long term. Nevertheless, continued equity AUM outflows and rising costs are major concerns for the company. Nevertheless, sound liquidity position keeps Legg Mason well poised for growth.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued research reports about the company. Citigroup upgraded Legg Mason from a neutral rating to a buy rating and upped their target price for the company from $27.00 to $29.50 in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Deutsche Bank lowered Legg Mason from a buy rating to a hold rating and cut their target price for the company from $31.00 to $27.00 in a research report on Thursday, January 10th. Bank of America upgraded Legg Mason from an underperform rating to a neutral rating and cut their target price for the company from $30.00 to $29.00 in a research report on Friday, January 11th. Wells Fargo & Co upped their target price on Legg Mason from $29.00 to $34.00 and gave the company an outperform rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $24.00 target price on Legg Mason and gave the company a sell rating in a research report on Friday, February 8th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have given a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $34.73.

Shares of Legg Mason stock opened at $30.44 on Tuesday. Legg Mason has a one year low of $23.25 and a one year high of $40.50. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.54, a quick ratio of 1.33 and a current ratio of 1.77. The stock has a market cap of $2.53 billion, a P/E ratio of 8.18, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.67 and a beta of 1.65.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last announced its earnings results on Monday, February 4th. The asset manager reported ($2.55) EPS for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.69 by ($3.24). Legg Mason had a negative net margin of 0.06% and a positive return on equity of 7.44%. The business had revenue of $704.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $718.90 million. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company earned $1.58 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 11.2% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts expect that Legg Mason will post 2.84 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 29th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 26th will be paid a dividend of $0.34 per share. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.47%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 25th. Legg Mason’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 36.56%.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of LM. Financial Architects Inc purchased a new stake in shares of Legg Mason in the fourth quarter worth approximately $26,000. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund raised its stake in shares of Legg Mason by 2,451.0% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 872,212 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $34,000 after purchasing an additional 838,021 shares during the last quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. raised its stake in shares of Legg Mason by 113.0% in the third quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 1,127 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $35,000 after purchasing an additional 598 shares during the last quarter. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Legg Mason in the fourth quarter worth approximately $46,000. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in shares of Legg Mason in the fourth quarter worth approximately $104,000. 84.28% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Legg Mason Company Profile

Legg Mason, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides investment management and related services to company-sponsored mutual funds and other investment vehicles including pension funds, foundations, endowments, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, private banks, family offices, individuals, as well as to global, institutional, and retail clients.

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