Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Tuesday. The brokerage currently has $48.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Legg Mason have outperformed the industry year to date. The company has displayed an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s strategic acquisitions over the last few years, are anticipated to boost top-line growth. Also, Legg Mason’s cost control measures will provide support to its financials. Though, continued equity AUM outflows in the coming years can be a headwind, the company's focus on expanding product offerings for its customers bode well for the long-term.”

A number of other brokerages have also commented on LM. Royal Bank of Canada set a $49.00 price objective on Legg Mason and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 15th. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on Legg Mason from $48.00 to $49.00 and gave the stock an outperform rating in a report on Thursday, October 26th. Deutsche Bank started coverage on Legg Mason in a report on Tuesday, October 17th. They set a buy rating and a $44.00 price objective for the company. Morgan Stanley lowered Legg Mason from an equal weight rating to an underweight rating and decreased their price objective for the stock from $37.00 to $36.00 in a report on Thursday, October 5th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and set a $47.00 price objective on shares of Legg Mason in a report on Friday, September 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating, six have assigned a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $43.90.

Legg Mason (NYSE LM) opened at $41.98 on Tuesday. Legg Mason has a 52 week low of $29.74 and a 52 week high of $42.43. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.56, a quick ratio of 1.79 and a current ratio of 2.51. The firm has a market capitalization of $3,875.17, a P/E ratio of 16.40, a P/E/G ratio of 0.99 and a beta of 2.27.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The asset manager reported $0.79 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.69 by $0.10. Legg Mason had a return on equity of 7.16% and a net margin of 8.46%. The business had revenue of $768.30 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $739.47 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.63 EPS. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.7% on a year-over-year basis. analysts anticipate that Legg Mason will post 2.84 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 15th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, December 20th will be issued a $0.28 dividend. This represents a $1.12 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.67%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, December 19th. Legg Mason’s dividend payout ratio is presently 43.75%.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Vanguard Group Inc. grew its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 2.4% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 7,399,178 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $282,352,000 after acquiring an additional 174,167 shares in the last quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP grew its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 2.5% in the third quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 3,327,388 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $130,800,000 after acquiring an additional 81,952 shares in the last quarter. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC grew its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 5.3% in the third quarter. Clarkston Capital Partners LLC now owns 3,184,293 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $125,175,000 after acquiring an additional 159,884 shares in the last quarter. LSV Asset Management grew its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 55.7% in the second quarter. LSV Asset Management now owns 2,183,004 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $83,303,000 after acquiring an additional 780,708 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Gabelli Funds LLC grew its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 3.2% in the third quarter. Gabelli Funds LLC now owns 1,536,000 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $60,380,000 after acquiring an additional 48,000 shares in the last quarter. 82.49% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

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About Legg Mason

Legg Mason, Inc is a holding company. The Company and its subsidiaries are principally engaged in providing asset management and related financial services to individuals, institutions, corporations and municipalities. The Company operates through Global Asset Management segment. Global Asset Management provides investment advisory services to institutional and individual clients and to the Company-sponsored investment funds.

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