Lazard Ltd (LAZ) Upgraded by Bank of America Corp to Neutral

Bank of America Corp upgraded shares of Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note released on Thursday morning. Bank of America Corp currently has $47.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock. The analysts noted that the move was a valuation call.

A number of other brokerages have also commented on LAZ. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods assumed coverage on shares of Lazard in a report on Friday, February 17th. They set an outperform rating and a $51.00 price objective on the stock. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a buy rating and set a $50.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a report on Sunday, February 5th. Nomura lowered shares of Lazard from a buy rating to a neutral rating in a report on Thursday, January 5th. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Lazard from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Wednesday, December 28th. Finally, Instinet lowered shares of Lazard from a buy rating to a neutral rating and set a $43.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Friday, January 6th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $45.50.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) traded up 0.39% during mid-day trading on Thursday, hitting $46.03. The stock had a trading volume of 721,104 shares. The stock has a market cap of $5.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.76 and a beta of 1.91. Lazard has a 12-month low of $26.21 and a 12-month high of $47.09. The company has a 50-day moving average of $44.88 and a 200-day moving average of $41.38.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, February 2nd. The asset manager reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.99 by $0.14. The company had revenue of $685 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $679.51 million. Lazard had a net margin of 16.26% and a return on equity of 32.97%. The business’s quarterly revenue was up 14.5% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.92 earnings per share. On average, analysts anticipate that Lazard will post $3.35 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other news, General Counsel Scott D. Hoffman sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, March 2nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.16, for a total transaction of $863,200.00. Following the transaction, the general counsel now directly owns 129,031 shares in the company, valued at approximately $5,568,977.96. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. 2.20% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in LAZ. Darrell & King LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lazard during the third quarter valued at approximately $24,528,000. Norges Bank bought a new stake in shares of Lazard during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $26,117,000. Eaton Vance Management increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 141.9% in the third quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 986,999 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $35,887,000 after buying an additional 579,014 shares during the last quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 3,640.1% in the fourth quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 477,722 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $19,629,000 after buying an additional 464,949 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 858.2% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 469,500 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $19,292,000 after buying an additional 420,500 shares during the last quarter. 70.45% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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