Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:LKFN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Saturday morning. The firm currently has $55.00 price objective on the financial services provider’s stock.

According to Zacks, “LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORP. is a bank holding company engaged in general banking business. “

Several other brokerages also recently commented on LKFN. ValuEngine upgraded Lakeland Financial Corporation from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 1st. BidaskClub downgraded Lakeland Financial Corporation from a sell rating to a strong sell rating in a research report on Monday, August 14th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $49.00.

Lakeland Financial Corporation (LKFN) opened at 48.28 on Friday. Lakeland Financial Corporation has a 52 week low of $35.23 and a 52 week high of $49.98. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $47.67 and a 200-day moving average price of $45.62. The company has a market capitalization of $1.21 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 21.65 and a beta of 0.86.

Lakeland Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:LKFN) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, October 25th. The financial services provider reported $0.62 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.60 by $0.02. Lakeland Financial Corporation had a return on equity of 13.51% and a net margin of 30.67%. The business had revenue of $44.12 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $43.91 million. Analysts anticipate that Lakeland Financial Corporation will post $2.39 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, November 6th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, October 25th will be issued a $0.22 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, October 24th. This represents a $0.88 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.82%. Lakeland Financial Corporation’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 37.93%.

In other news, insider Eric H. Ottinger sold 1,899 shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $46.28, for a total value of $87,885.72. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 21,500 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $995,020. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, insider Batty Jill A. De sold 800 shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, September 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.31, for a total value of $34,648.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now directly owns 8,132 shares in the company, valued at $352,196.92. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders bought 10,613 shares of company stock worth $447,131 and sold 3,149 shares worth $142,334. Insiders own 5.00% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of LKFN. Neuberger Berman Group LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation in the second quarter worth about $16,070,000. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 13.2% in the second quarter. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. now owns 912,929 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $41,885,000 after purchasing an additional 106,673 shares during the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 4.6% in the third quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 950,549 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $46,311,000 after purchasing an additional 41,769 shares during the last quarter. Stifel Financial Corp increased its holdings in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 15.9% in the second quarter. Stifel Financial Corp now owns 299,715 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $13,755,000 after purchasing an additional 41,061 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Vanguard Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Lakeland Financial Corporation by 3.5% in the first quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 1,055,655 shares of the financial services provider’s stock worth $45,519,000 after purchasing an additional 35,653 shares during the last quarter. 69.37% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Lakeland Financial Corporation

Lakeland Financial Corporation is a bank holding company. The Company, through its subsidiary, Lake City Bank (the Bank), provides an array of products and services throughout its Northern and Central Indiana markets. It offers commercial and consumer banking services, as well as trust and wealth management, brokerage, investment and treasury management commercial services.

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