Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Legg Mason Inc. (NYSE:LM) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report published on Friday. The brokerage currently has $38.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Legg Mason’s estimates have been increasing lately ahead of its second-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings release. The company’s continued strategic acquisitions over the last few years, including the acquisition of Financial Guard in Aug 2016, will boost the company’s top-line growth. Notably, management expects to remain focused on generating overall inflows in the coming years, thereby enhancing assets under management. Further, sound liquidity position and cost saving measures should bolster profitability. However, stringent regulatory landscape and the current cyclical and secular pressures in the asset management business remain concerns for Legg Mason.”

LM has been the subject of several other reports. Citigroup Inc. boosted their price objective on Legg Mason from $45.00 to $50.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Thursday, July 28th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated an outperform rating and issued a $4.00 target price on shares of Legg Mason in a research note on Monday, September 12th. Jefferies Group restated a buy rating and issued a $36.00 target price (down previously from $39.00) on shares of Legg Mason in a research note on Monday, July 11th. Morgan Stanley restated a hold rating on shares of Legg Mason in a research note on Friday, September 9th. Finally, Wells Fargo & Co. restated a buy rating on shares of Legg Mason in a research note on Monday, July 18th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $37.67.

Shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) opened at 32.70 on Friday. Legg Mason has a 52-week low of $24.93 and a 52-week high of $46.41. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $33.90 and a 200-day moving average of $32.93. The stock’s market capitalization is $3.39 billion.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 27th. The company reported $0.31 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.25 by $0.06. Legg Mason had a positive return on equity of 7.06% and a negative net margin of 3.25%. The business earned $700.20 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $681.99 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $1.14 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts predict that Legg Mason will post $2.31 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 24th. Investors of record on Thursday, October 6th will be paid a $0.22 dividend. This represents a $0.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.69%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, October 4th. Legg Mason’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently -103.53%.

Large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Seven Eight Capital LLC acquired a new stake in Legg Mason during the first quarter worth $180,000. Ironwood Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new stake in Legg Mason during the first quarter worth $227,000. Fox Run Management L.L.C. acquired a new stake in Legg Mason during the third quarter worth $244,000. Neuberger Berman Group LLC acquired a new stake in Legg Mason during the second quarter worth $220,000. Finally, Calvert Investment Management Inc. boosted its stake in Legg Mason by 8.0% in the second quarter. Calvert Investment Management Inc. now owns 8,702 shares of the company’s stock worth $257,000 after buying an additional 643 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 78.66% of the company’s stock.

Legg Mason Company Profile

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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