River & Mercantile Asset Management LLP bought a new stake in Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor bought 54,900 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock, valued at approximately $2,173,000.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also modified their holdings of the company. Elkhorn Investments LLC purchased a new stake in Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter worth $826,000. Norges Bank purchased a new stake in Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter worth $93,377,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 68.0% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 75,911 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $3,005,000 after buying an additional 30,730 shares in the last quarter. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main purchased a new stake in Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter worth $624,000. Finally, Clough Capital Partners L P purchased a new stake in Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter worth $7,354,000. Institutional investors own 48.31% of the company’s stock.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)

Shares of Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) traded up 0.99% during midday trading on Thursday, hitting $41.62. 2,065,748 shares of the stock were exchanged. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $41.91 and a 200-day moving average of $39.64. Franklin Resources, Inc. has a one year low of $30.56 and a one year high of $44.35. The company has a market cap of $23.53 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.03 and a beta of 1.78.



Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, January 27th. The closed-end fund reported $0.77 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.09. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 13.88% and a net margin of 26.77%. The company had revenue of $1.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.58 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the company posted $0.74 EPS. The company’s revenue was down 11.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Franklin Resources, Inc. will post $2.69 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, April 13th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 31st were paid a $0.20 dividend. The ex-dividend date was Wednesday, March 29th. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.92%. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.94%.

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A number of research firms have recently weighed in on BEN. Credit Suisse Group AG restated a “sell” rating and issued a $37.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, April 7th. Deutsche Bank AG increased their price objective on shares of Franklin Resources from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 6th. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “underweight” rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Friday, March 17th. Bank of America Corp raised shares of Franklin Resources from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $50.00 price objective for the company in a research report on Thursday, March 16th. Finally, TheStreet raised shares of Franklin Resources from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, March 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $38.81.

In other news, Chairman Gregory E. Johnson sold 25,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.18, for a total value of $1,079,500.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 2,162,863 shares in the company, valued at approximately $93,392,424.34. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Jennifer M. Johnson sold 16,835 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.90, for a total value of $739,056.50. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 1,521,037 shares in the company, valued at $66,773,524.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Corporate insiders own 21.60% of the company’s stock.

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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