Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Wednesday, Zacks.com reports. The firm currently has a $40.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would indicate a potential upside of 3.39% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Lazard displays a decent earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in two of the trailing four quarters. The company is well poised to grow organically, driven by strength in Financial Advisory and Asset Management segments. Lazard's investment strategies shall continue to support growth in assets under management aiding top-line expansion. The company's focus on cost savings will likely enhance profitability. However, shares of Lazard have underperformed the industry, year to date. Dependence on local and global economic conditions for revenue generation and regulatory pressure can impede top-line growth of the company. Also, significant dependence on financial advisory revenues as a source of income reamin a haedwind. Further, lesser chances of sustainability of its capital deployment activities is a concern.”

A number of other equities analysts also recently commented on the company. Buckingham Research cut their price objective on Lazard from $45.00 to $41.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, July 11th. UBS Group lowered Lazard from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating and reduced their price objective for the company from $43.00 to $36.00 in a research note on Monday, June 10th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and five have given a hold rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $40.17.

Shares of NYSE:LAZ traded up $0.34 during trading on Wednesday, reaching $38.69. The stock had a trading volume of 42,705 shares, compared to its average volume of 542,104. The company has a quick ratio of 1.95, a current ratio of 1.95 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.11. The stock has a market cap of $5.02 billion, a P/E ratio of 9.30 and a beta of 1.72. The business has a fifty day moving average price of $35.05 and a 200-day moving average price of $35.77. Lazard has a fifty-two week low of $31.07 and a fifty-two week high of $49.24.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, July 25th. The asset manager reported $0.73 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.10. Lazard had a net margin of 14.42% and a return on equity of 47.09%. The company had revenue of $630.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $604.18 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.10 EPS. Lazard’s revenue for the quarter was down 15.0% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Lazard will post 3.35 EPS for the current year.

In related news, CAO Scott D. Hoffman sold 30,000 shares of Lazard stock in a transaction on Wednesday, August 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.04, for a total transaction of $1,021,200.00. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 24,388 shares in the company, valued at approximately $830,167.52. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Company insiders own 2.94% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Machina Capital S.A.S. bought a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 2nd quarter worth $53,000. Advisors Asset Management Inc. lifted its stake in Lazard by 52.3% during the first quarter. Advisors Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,599 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $94,000 after purchasing an additional 892 shares during the last quarter. HM Payson & Co. acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 2nd quarter valued at $103,000. ETF Managers Group LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 2nd quarter valued at $173,000. Finally, Atria Investments LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 2nd quarter valued at $199,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 64.37% of the company’s stock.

Lazard Company Profile

Lazard Ltd, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial advisory and asset management firm worldwide. Its Financial Advisory segment offers various financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising, shareholder advisory, and various other financial matters.

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