Lazard (LAZ) Upgraded to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report released on Friday morning. The firm currently has $59.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Lazard have outperformed the industry over the past six months. While earnings estimates for to-be-reported quarter has remained stable lately, the company’s displays an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters. The company is well positioned to grow organically, driven by strength in its Financial Advisory and Asset Management segments. Notably, in 2016, Lazard acquired Verus Partners and the remaining stake in MBA Lazard, to fortify its financial advisory business footprint across America. However, its dependence on local and global economic conditions for revenue generation and regulatory pressure can hurt top-line growth in the near term. Nevertheless, focus on cost management will likely enhance the company’s profitability.”

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Several other research analysts also recently commented on LAZ. ValuEngine downgraded Lazard from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 7th. TheStreet downgraded Lazard from an a- rating to a c+ rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. JMP Securities increased their price objective on Lazard from $63.00 to $65.00 and gave the company a market outperform rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Nomura increased their price objective on Lazard from $62.00 to $67.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, February 2nd. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and issued a $67.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company. Lazard has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $61.25.

Lazard stock opened at $52.81 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.95, a quick ratio of 1.91 and a current ratio of 1.91. Lazard has a 12 month low of $40.50 and a 12 month high of $60.00. The company has a market capitalization of $6,847.76, a price-to-earnings ratio of 13.97, a P/E/G ratio of 1.21 and a beta of 1.85.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The asset manager reported $1.12 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.92 by $0.20. The business had revenue of $683.00 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $658.86 million. Lazard had a return on equity of 38.93% and a net margin of 9.40%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down .3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $1.13 EPS. sell-side analysts expect that Lazard will post 4.04 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Lazard news, CAO Scott D. Hoffman sold 15,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 2nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.13, for a total value of $781,950.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 147,341 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $7,680,886.33. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, COO Alexander F. Stern sold 65,160 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $53.12, for a total value of $3,461,299.20. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 276,886 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $14,708,184.32. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 95,320 shares of company stock valued at $5,053,854 over the last ninety days. Corporate insiders own 2.76% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Denali Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 4th quarter worth $105,000. Advisory Services Network LLC increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 83.2% in the 4th quarter. Advisory Services Network LLC now owns 2,151 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $113,000 after acquiring an additional 977 shares during the last quarter. Genovese Burford & Brothers Wealth & Retirement Plan Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 4th quarter worth $125,000. First Dallas Securities Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 4th quarter worth $127,000. Finally, American International Group Inc. acquired a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 4th quarter worth $144,000. 71.77% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

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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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