Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:LKFN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Saturday. The firm currently has $55.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in general banking business. “

A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on LKFN. ValuEngine raised shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research note on Monday, August 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. Lakeland Financial Corporation presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $49.00.

Lakeland Financial Corporation (LKFN) opened at 48.00 on Friday. Lakeland Financial Corporation has a 52-week low of $35.23 and a 52-week high of $49.98. The company’s 50-day moving average is $47.53 and its 200-day moving average is $45.60. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.20 billion, a PE ratio of 21.52 and a beta of 0.86.

Lakeland Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:LKFN) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.62 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.60 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $44.12 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $43.91 million. Lakeland Financial Corporation had a net margin of 30.67% and a return on equity of 13.51%. Analysts forecast that Lakeland Financial Corporation will post $2.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 6th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, October 25th will be paid a dividend of $0.22 per share. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.83%. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 24th. Lakeland Financial Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 37.93%.

In other Lakeland Financial Corporation news, Director M Scott Welch purchased 5,557 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, September 7th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $41.83 per share, with a total value of $232,449.31. Following the completion of the purchase, the director now owns 112,148 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,691,150.84. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Eric H. Ottinger sold 1,899 shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.28, for a total transaction of $87,885.72. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 21,500 shares in the company, valued at $995,020. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders have acquired 10,613 shares of company stock worth $447,131 and have sold 3,149 shares worth $142,334. Company insiders own 5.00% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Bridge City Capital LLC purchased a new position in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation during the third quarter worth approximately $996,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. raised its stake in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 4.6% during the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 950,549 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $46,311,000 after acquiring an additional 41,769 shares in the last quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. raised its stake in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 4.0% during the third quarter. Vaughan Nelson Investment Management L.P. now owns 858,109 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $41,807,000 after acquiring an additional 32,875 shares in the last quarter. Dynamic Technology Lab Private Ltd purchased a new position in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation during the second quarter worth approximately $234,000. Finally, Susquehanna International Group LLP purchased a new position in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation during the second quarter worth approximately $478,000. 69.37% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Lakeland Financial Corporation

Lakeland Financial Corporation is a bank holding company. The Company, through its subsidiary, Lake City Bank (the Bank), provides an array of products and services throughout its Northern and Central Indiana markets. It offers commercial and consumer banking services, as well as trust and wealth management, brokerage, investment and treasury management commercial services.

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