Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. (NYSE:WDR) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note released on Thursday. The firm currently has $20.00 price objective on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Waddell & Reed has a positive record of earnings surprises in recent quarters. Notably, estimates have been stable lately ahead of the company’s third-quarter 2016 earnings release. The initiatives through Project E will help improve profitability and will result in significant enhancements in the company’s investment advisory programs. Additionally, the company continues to invest in Retail Broker-Dealer, which is expected to boost revenues, inflows and AUM in the future. However, a rise in redemption rates, significant volatility in the equity markets and declining trend in AUM remain major near-term concerns. Also, expenses are expected to remain elevated due to the company’s increased investment in technology initiatives.”

A number of other equities research analysts also recently weighed in on the company. Jefferies Group lifted their target price on Waddell & Reed Financial from $18.00 to $19.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Tuesday. Morgan Stanley reissued a sell rating and set a $17.00 target price on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial in a report on Thursday, July 28th. RBC Capital Markets set a $26.00 target price on Waddell & Reed Financial and gave the stock a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their target price on Waddell & Reed Financial from $16.00 to $17.00 and gave the stock a neutral rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Finally, Royal Bank Of Canada decreased their price target on Waddell & Reed Financial from $29.00 to $26.00 and set an outperform rating on the stock in a research report on Wednesday, July 27th. Three 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 stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $22.64.

Shares of Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) traded down 1.159% on Thursday, reaching $17.485. 115,456 shares of the company traded hands. Waddell & Reed Financial has a one year low of $15.70 and a one year high of $38.85. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $18.08 and its 200 day moving average is $19.34. The company has a market capitalization of $1.45 billion, a P/E ratio of 7.973 and a beta of 1.78.

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.59 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.48 by $0.11. Waddell & Reed Financial had a return on equity of 26.65% and a net margin of 13.16%. The company earned $319.20 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $312.82 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm earned $0.80 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was down 19.0% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Waddell & Reed Financial will post $1.86 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, November 1st. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, October 11th will be issued a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 10.40%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, October 6th. Waddell & Reed Financial’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 83.64%.

Several hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in WDR. MSI Financial Services Inc boosted its stake in Waddell & Reed Financial by 1.5% in the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 5,837 shares of the company’s stock valued at $106,000 after buying an additional 89 shares during the period. Bellwether Investment Group LLC purchased a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial during the second quarter valued at $115,000. Americafirst Capital Management LLC purchased a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial during the second quarter valued at $168,000. Wrapmanager Inc. purchased a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial during the second quarter valued at $180,000. Finally, CIBC World Markets Inc. purchased a new stake in Waddell & Reed Financial during the second quarter valued at $182,000. Institutional investors own 83.13% of the company’s stock.

Waddell & Reed Financial Company Profile

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc is a mutual fund and asset management company. The Company provides investment management, investment advisory, investment product underwriting and distribution and shareholder services administration to Waddell & Reed Advisors group of mutual funds, Ivy Funds, Ivy Funds Variable Insurance Portfolios, InvestEd Portfolios and 529 college savings plan (collectively, the Funds), and the Ivy Global Investors Fund SICAV and its Ivy Global Investors sub-funds (the IGI Funds), and institutional and separately managed accounts.

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