Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) saw a significant decline in short interest in the month of October. As of October 31st, there was short interest totalling 2,129,255 shares, a decline of 34.5% from the October 13th total of 3,250,612 shares. Approximately 1.7% of the shares of the company are sold short. Based on an average trading volume of 761,130 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 2.8 days.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) opened at $47.69 on Tuesday. Lazard has a 52-week low of $38.46 and a 52-week high of $48.86. The company has a market capitalization of $6,136.64, a PE ratio of 12.48, a PEG ratio of 1.58 and a beta of 1.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.87, a current ratio of 2.09 and a quick ratio of 2.09.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 26th. The asset manager reported $0.85 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.10. Lazard had a return on equity of 38.81% and a net margin of 17.16%. The business had revenue of $624.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $593.19 million. During the same period in the previous year, the business earned $0.85 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was up 2.5% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Lazard will post 3.52 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, November 17th. Stockholders of record on Monday, November 6th will be given a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, November 3rd. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 3.44%. Lazard’s payout ratio is 46.86%.

Lazard declared that its Board of Directors has approved a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, October 25th that allows the company to repurchase $200.00 million in outstanding shares. This repurchase authorization allows the asset manager to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock repurchase plans are usually a sign that the company’s leadership believes its shares are undervalued.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Dividend Assets Capital LLC lifted its position in shares of Lazard by 0.7% in the second quarter. Dividend Assets Capital LLC now owns 10,255 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $475,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. New York State Teachers Retirement System lifted its position in shares of Lazard by 0.9% in the first quarter. New York State Teachers Retirement System now owns 11,200 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $515,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Cadence Capital Management LLC lifted its position in shares of Lazard by 1.6% in the second quarter. Cadence Capital Management LLC now owns 14,755 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $684,000 after buying an additional 232 shares in the last quarter. Aperio Group LLC lifted its position in shares of Lazard by 3.3% in the second quarter. Aperio Group LLC now owns 8,430 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $391,000 after buying an additional 266 shares in the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Lazard by 9.0% in the second quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 3,701 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $172,000 after buying an additional 306 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 72.32% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. Nomura lifted their target price on Lazard from $43.00 to $46.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Friday, November 3rd. BidaskClub downgraded Lazard from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, August 11th. ValuEngine downgraded Lazard from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 3rd. Buckingham Research lifted their target price on Lazard from $53.00 to $54.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research downgraded Lazard from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and one has assigned a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $48.56.

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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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