Franklin Resources (BEN) Upgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Buy”

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Thursday morning. They currently have $49.00 price target on the closed-end fund’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the trailing four quarters. We remain optimistic as strategic acquisitions and solid distribution platform have well positioned the company for growth. Further, management continues with cost-control measures. Also, its involvement in steady capital deployment activities boosts shareholders’ confidence. However, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may affect the company’s performance and hurt profitability.”

BEN has been the subject of several other reports. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a hold rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. Wells Fargo & Co decreased their target price on Franklin Resources from $50.00 to $48.00 and set a market perform rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Citigroup decreased their target price on Franklin Resources from $45.00 to $44.00 and set a neutral rating for the company in a research report on Friday, October 27th. UBS Group boosted their target price on Franklin Resources from $46.00 to $48.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a research report on Friday, October 27th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered Franklin Resources from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, November 17th. Four research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. Franklin Resources presently has an average rating of Hold and an average price target of $44.45.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) traded up $0.59 during trading on Thursday, hitting $44.53. The stock had a trading volume of 1,991,500 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,883,886. The firm has a market cap of $24,621.17, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.84, a P/E/G ratio of 1.55 and a beta of 1.75. Franklin Resources has a 52 week low of $39.38 and a 52 week high of $47.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.08, a current ratio of 8.75 and a quick ratio of 8.75.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last posted its earnings results on Thursday, October 26th. The closed-end fund reported $0.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.72 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $1.62 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.64 billion. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 13.48% and a net margin of 26.54%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up .3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.82 EPS. equities research analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post 3.15 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Wednesday, January 10th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 26th were given a dividend of $0.23 per share. The ex-dividend date was Friday, December 22nd. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.07%. This is an increase from Franklin Resources’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.20. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio is 30.67%.

In other Franklin Resources news, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 7,790 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, December 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.92, for a total transaction of $342,136.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, Vice Chairman Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. sold 400,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $42.95, for a total value of $17,180,000.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 514,603 shares of company stock valued at $22,134,429. Insiders own 22.20% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in BEN. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in Franklin Resources by 35.2% during the 2nd quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 968,885 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $43,395,000 after acquiring an additional 252,165 shares during the last quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. boosted its position in Franklin Resources by 0.5% during the 2nd quarter. Franklin Resources Inc. now owns 1,095,039 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $49,047,000 after acquiring an additional 4,971 shares during the last quarter. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK boosted its position in Franklin Resources by 22.9% during the 2nd quarter. Aberdeen Asset Management PLC UK now owns 107,728 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $4,826,000 after acquiring an additional 20,060 shares during the last quarter. Martingale Asset Management L P bought a new stake in shares of Franklin Resources during the 2nd quarter worth approximately $607,000. Finally, Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. raised its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 2.3% during the 2nd quarter. Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Co. now owns 5,244 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $235,000 after purchasing an additional 116 shares in the last quarter. 44.72% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Franklin Resources Company Profile

Franklin Resources, Inc is a holding company. The Company, along with its subsidiaries, operates as Franklin Templeton Investments. It is a global investment management company that provides investment management and related services to retail, institutional and high net-worth clients in jurisdictions around the world.

Analyst Recommendations for Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)

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