Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report released on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Blackstone has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from higher revenues, partially offset by an increase in costs. The company remains well positioned to capitalize on its fund-raising ability and continue to benefit from revenue mix, persistent asset inflows and inorganic growth efforts. However, elevated expenses, mainly due to higher compensation costs along with its higher dependence on management and advisory fees for revenues, remain key concern. Sustainability of its quarterly distribution (owing to higher debt equity ratio than the industry) is less, thus making us apprehensive. These concerns seem to be weighing on the stock, which has underperformed the industry in the last three months.”

Other research analysts also recently issued research reports about the company. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reaffirmed a buy rating and issued a $42.00 price objective on shares of Blackstone Group in a research note on Thursday, February 1st. Vetr downgraded Blackstone Group from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating and set a $35.50 price objective for the company. in a research note on Monday, December 4th. Oppenheimer reaffirmed a buy rating on shares of Blackstone Group in a research note on Thursday, October 19th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Blackstone Group from an overweight rating to a hold rating in a research note on Tuesday, February 6th. Finally, Bank of America upped their price objective on Blackstone Group from $38.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Two equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Blackstone Group presently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average target price of $39.90.

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) opened at $33.78 on Monday. Blackstone Group has a 52 week low of $28.45 and a 52 week high of $37.52. The company has a quick ratio of 1.05, a current ratio of 1.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.95. The stock has a market capitalization of $22,436.01, a P/E ratio of 11.94, a PEG ratio of 1.14 and a beta of 1.34.

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) last released its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The asset manager reported $0.71 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.67 by $0.04. Blackstone Group had a return on equity of 22.46% and a net margin of 20.66%. The company had revenue of $1.88 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.73 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm posted $0.68 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue was up 19.9% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts expect that Blackstone Group will post 3.1 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, February 20th. Shareholders of record on Monday, February 12th will be given a dividend of $0.85 per share. This represents a $3.40 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 10.07%. The ex-dividend date is Friday, February 9th. This is an increase from Blackstone Group’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.44. Blackstone Group’s dividend payout ratio is currently 155.96%.

In other Blackstone Group news, insider John G. Finley sold 800 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, December 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.00, for a total transaction of $25,600.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 87,852 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,811,264. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, major shareholder Group L.P. Blackstone purchased 228,535 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 28th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $29.63 per share, for a total transaction of $6,771,492.05. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Corporate insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 1.3% during the 2nd quarter. Gofen & Glossberg LLC IL now owns 8,450 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $282,000 after buying an additional 110 shares in the last quarter. Addison Capital Co boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 23.8% during the 4th quarter. Addison Capital Co now owns 7,645 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $245,000 after buying an additional 1,470 shares in the last quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 1.4% during the 4th quarter. Wasatch Advisors Inc. now owns 109,112 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $3,494,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares in the last quarter. Perkins Capital Management Inc. boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 5.3% during the 4th quarter. Perkins Capital Management Inc. now owns 29,650 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $949,000 after buying an additional 1,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Cetera Investment Advisers boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 12.9% during the 2nd quarter. Cetera Investment Advisers now owns 13,381 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $446,000 after buying an additional 1,528 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 45.24% of the company’s stock.

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Blackstone Group Company Profile

The Blackstone Group L.P. is a global alternative asset manager. The Company’s alternative asset management businesses include investment vehicles focused on private equity, non-investment grade credit, secondary private equity funds of funds and multi-asset class strategies. It operates through four segments: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit.

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