Franklin Resources (BEN) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to Hold

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Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Wednesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources have underperformed the industry year to date. However, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Sep 30) earnings reflected prudent expense management. However, reduced revenues and assets under management (AUM) were major drags. Though strategic acquisitions, solid distribution platform and cost-control measures have well positioned the company for growth, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions might affect the company’s performance and dampen profitability. Further, persistent fall in investment management fees are expected to hurt revenue growth to some extent.”

Other equities research analysts have also issued reports about the company. Deutsche Bank decreased their target price on Franklin Resources from $30.00 to $29.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a research report on Friday, November 16th. UBS Group decreased their target price on Franklin Resources from $34.00 to $33.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Monday, October 8th. ValuEngine raised Franklin Resources from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 20th. Morgan Stanley set a $29.00 price objective on Franklin Resources and gave the stock a sell rating in a report on Wednesday, November 14th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group decreased their price objective on Franklin Resources from $28.00 to $26.00 and set an underperform rating for the company in a report on Friday, October 26th. Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and seven have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $34.18.

Shares of Franklin Resources stock opened at $33.27 on Wednesday. Franklin Resources has a 1 year low of $28.12 and a 1 year high of $45.96. The firm has a market cap of $17.07 billion, a PE ratio of 10.43, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 1.17 and a beta of 1.30. The company has a quick ratio of 3.71, a current ratio of 3.71 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The closed-end fund reported $1.13 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.39. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 16.26% and a net margin of 12.10%. The firm had revenue of $1.53 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.55 billion. Equities analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post 2.84 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 10,216 shares of Franklin Resources stock in a transaction dated Monday, December 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.26, for a total value of $350,000.16. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 4,820 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.85, for a total value of $158,337.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the insider now owns 56,369 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,851,721.65. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 338,036 shares of company stock valued at $10,979,997. 22.20% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of BEN. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 17.1% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 32,666,942 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $993,402,000 after purchasing an additional 4,764,162 shares during the period. Fiduciary Management Inc. WI bought a new position in Franklin Resources in the 3rd quarter worth about $126,946,000. Abrams Capital Management L.P. boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 25.2% in the 3rd quarter. Abrams Capital Management L.P. now owns 9,945,023 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $302,428,000 after purchasing an additional 2,000,000 shares during the period. Morgan Stanley boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 108.2% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,197,116 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $102,468,000 after purchasing an additional 1,661,189 shares during the period. Finally, Bank of New York Mellon Corp boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 27.4% in the 3rd quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 4,340,194 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $131,985,000 after purchasing an additional 932,439 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 47.83% of the company’s stock.

Franklin Resources Company Profile

Franklin Resources, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides its services to individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, and partnerships. It launches equity, fixed income, balanced, and multi-asset mutual funds through its subsidiaries.

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