BidaskClub upgraded shares of Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Monday morning.

Several other research firms have also recently issued reports on LAZ. Zacks Investment Research cut Lazard from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. ValuEngine upgraded Lazard from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a research report on Friday, July 28th. Credit Suisse Group reiterated a buy rating and issued a $50.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a research report on Friday, April 21st. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a buy rating on shares of Lazard in a research report on Tuesday, April 4th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have issued a buy rating and two have assigned a strong buy rating to the company. The company currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus target price of $46.89.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) traded down 0.33% during trading on Monday, hitting $45.48. 376,694 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $46.40 and its 200-day moving average is $44.60. The stock has a market cap of $5.53 billion, a P/E ratio of 12.88 and a beta of 1.84. Lazard has a 12 month low of $33.42 and a 12 month high of $48.86.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, July 27th. The asset manager reported $0.98 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.18. The firm had revenue of $720.16 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $627.12 million. Lazard had a return on equity of 39.33% and a net margin of 17.39%. Lazard’s revenue was up 32.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.61 earnings per share. On average, analysts forecast that Lazard will post $3.60 EPS for the current year.

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The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, August 18th. Stockholders of record on Monday, August 7th will be given a $0.41 dividend. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.61%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, August 3rd. Lazard’s dividend payout ratio is currently 46.46%.

In related news, CFO Matthieu Bucaille sold 90,000 shares of Lazard stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 30th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.81, for a total transaction of $4,032,900.00. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, General Counsel Scott D. Hoffman sold 35,000 shares of Lazard stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $45.13, for a total value of $1,579,550.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 190,000 shares of company stock valued at $8,521,200. 2.50% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the company. CENTRAL TRUST Co boosted its stake in Lazard by 558.7% in the first quarter. CENTRAL TRUST Co now owns 3,537 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $163,000 after buying an additional 3,000 shares in the last quarter. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Lazard by 1,759.2% in the second quarter. JFS Wealth Advisors LLC now owns 3,830 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $177,000 after buying an additional 3,624 shares in the last quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC bought a new stake in Lazard during the second quarter worth approximately $179,000. Suntrust Banks Inc. bought a new stake in Lazard during the first quarter worth approximately $204,000. Finally, Pinnacle Financial Partners Inc. bought a new stake in Lazard during the second quarter worth approximately $206,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 73.66% of the company’s stock.

About Lazard

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients.

Analyst Recommendations for Lazard (NYSE:LAZ)

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