Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Monday morning.
According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources underperformed the industry over the past six months. However, the company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate 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.”
Several other equities research analysts have also commented on BEN. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a hold rating and issued a $47.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, December 22nd. ValuEngine raised shares of Franklin Resources from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Friday, December 1st. Finally, Deutsche Bank cut their price target on shares of Franklin Resources from $40.00 to $37.00 and set a hold rating for the company in a report on Tuesday, March 6th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have given a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $44.00.
Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, January 30th. The closed-end fund reported $0.88 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.75 by $0.13. Franklin Resources had a net margin of 10.44% and a return on equity of 13.88%. The firm had revenue of $1.62 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.62 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.77 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 3.5% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts anticipate that Franklin Resources will post 3.26 earnings per share for the current year.
The firm also recently announced a special dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 12th. Stockholders of record on Thursday, March 29th will be issued a dividend of $3.00 per share. This is a positive change from Franklin Resources’s previous special dividend of $0.50. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 28th. This represents a dividend yield of 2.35%. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio is presently 78.63%.
In other news, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 7,790 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.92, for a total transaction of $342,136.80. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Gregory E. Johnson sold 49,988 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Tuesday, December 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.58, for a total transaction of $2,178,477.04. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 2,116,886 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $92,253,891.88. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 22.20% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Toronto Dominion Bank grew its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 8.3% during the third quarter. Toronto Dominion Bank now owns 126,061 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $5,610,000 after buying an additional 9,687 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. grew its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 225.5% during the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 3,153,748 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $140,499,000 after buying an additional 2,184,863 shares in the last quarter. Pensionfund Sabic purchased a new stake in shares of Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter worth $1,517,000. APG Asset Management N.V. grew its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 10.6% during the fourth quarter. APG Asset Management N.V. now owns 4,318,827 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $155,842,000 after buying an additional 412,200 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Commonwealth Bank of Australia grew its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 16.0% during the third quarter. Commonwealth Bank of Australia now owns 89,833 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $3,991,000 after buying an additional 12,416 shares in the last quarter. 46.95% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
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About Franklin Resources
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.
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