Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note issued on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Franklin Resources have underperformed the industry year to date. However, the company displays an impressive earnings surprise history, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three out of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 (ended Sep 30) earnings reflected prudent expense management. However, reduced revenues and assets under management (AUM) were major drags. Though strategic acquisitions, solid distribution platform and cost-control measures have well positioned the company for growth, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions might affect the company’s performance and dampen profitability. Further, persistent fall in investment management fees are expected to hurt revenue growth to some extent.”

A number of other research firms also recently weighed in on BEN. Deutsche Bank decreased their price target on Franklin Resources from $30.00 to $29.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, November 16th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Franklin Resources from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and decreased their price target for the company from $32.00 to $29.00 in a research note on Thursday, September 6th. Credit Suisse Group decreased their price target on Franklin Resources from $28.00 to $26.00 and set an “underperform” rating on the stock in a research note on Friday, October 26th. UBS Group decreased their price target on Franklin Resources from $34.00 to $33.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research note on Monday, October 8th. Finally, Morgan Stanley set a $29.00 price target on Franklin Resources and gave the company a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 14th. Five analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and seven have issued a hold rating to the company’s stock. The company currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $34.18.

NYSE:BEN opened at $32.53 on Wednesday. The company has a current ratio of 3.71, a quick ratio of 3.71 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07. Franklin Resources has a 12-month low of $28.12 and a 12-month high of $45.96. The company has a market capitalization of $17.07 billion, a PE ratio of 10.40, a P/E/G ratio of 1.38 and a beta of 1.30.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The closed-end fund reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.74 by $0.39. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 16.26% and a net margin of 12.10%. The firm had revenue of $1.53 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.55 billion. Equities analysts predict that Franklin Resources will post 2.84 earnings per share for the current year.

In other Franklin Resources news, insider Jed A. Plafker sold 4,820 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Friday, September 21st. The stock was sold at an average price of $32.85, for a total transaction of $158,337.00. Following the sale, the insider now directly owns 56,369 shares in the company, valued at $1,851,721.65. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 10,216 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction on Monday, December 3rd. The stock was sold at an average price of $34.26, for a total value of $350,000.16. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 338,036 shares of company stock worth $10,979,997. 22.20% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the business. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources in the third quarter worth $100,000. Captrust Financial Advisors raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 605.1% in the second quarter. Captrust Financial Advisors now owns 3,187 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $103,000 after acquiring an additional 2,735 shares during the last quarter. Focused Wealth Management Inc acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources in the second quarter worth $131,000. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 196.4% in the third quarter. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC now owns 4,301 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $131,000 after acquiring an additional 2,850 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Dupont Capital Management Corp raised its holdings in shares of Franklin Resources by 61.2% in the second quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 4,168 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $134,000 after acquiring an additional 1,582 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors own 47.83% of the company’s stock.

Franklin Resources Company Profile

Franklin Resources, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides its services to individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, and partnerships. It launches equity, fixed income, balanced, and multi-asset mutual funds through its subsidiaries.

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