Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) saw a large growth in short interest in December. As of December 31st, there was short interest totalling 3,640,000 shares, a growth of 11.0% from the December 15th total of 3,280,000 shares. Currently, 3.6% of the company’s stock are short sold. Based on an average daily volume of 710,900 shares, the short-interest ratio is presently 5.1 days.

NYSE:LAZ traded down $0.01 during mid-day trading on Tuesday, reaching $44.18. 8,057 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 921,470. The company has a 50 day simple moving average of $39.66 and a 200-day simple moving average of $36.88. The stock has a market capitalization of $4.64 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.61 and a beta of 1.72. The company has a quick ratio of 1.91, a current ratio of 1.91 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 3.40. Lazard has a 1 year low of $31.07 and a 1 year high of $44.40.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last released its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 31st. The asset manager reported $0.76 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.73 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $588.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $612.98 million. Lazard had a return on equity of 50.66% and a net margin of 12.29%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 3.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.86 EPS. As a group, research analysts predict that Lazard will post 3.23 EPS for the current year.

In other Lazard news, CAO Scott D. Hoffman sold 40,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $38.25, for a total value of $1,530,000.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CAO Dominick Ragone sold 4,293 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $38.62, for a total value of $165,795.66. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 2.94% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in LAZ. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD lifted its holdings in shares of Lazard by 11.8% in the 2nd quarter. Price T Rowe Associates Inc. MD now owns 6,638,704 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $228,305,000 after buying an additional 698,677 shares during the period. Invesco Ltd. lifted its holdings in shares of Lazard by 16.4% in the 2nd quarter. Invesco Ltd. now owns 1,334,557 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $45,896,000 after buying an additional 188,236 shares during the period. Northern Trust Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Lazard by 0.7% in the 2nd quarter. Northern Trust Corp now owns 553,290 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $19,027,000 after buying an additional 3,998 shares during the period. First Trust Advisors LP lifted its holdings in shares of Lazard by 32.3% in the 3rd quarter. First Trust Advisors LP now owns 533,148 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $18,660,000 after buying an additional 130,131 shares during the period. Finally, Nuveen Asset Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Lazard by 333.0% in the 2nd quarter. Nuveen Asset Management LLC now owns 456,466 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $15,698,000 after buying an additional 351,043 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 79.25% of the company’s stock.

LAZ has been the topic of a number of recent analyst reports. Morgan Stanley initiated coverage on Lazard in a report on Wednesday, November 27th. They issued an “underweight” rating and a $35.00 price objective on the stock. ValuEngine upgraded Lazard from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Monday, December 30th. Buckingham Research increased their price objective on Lazard from $40.00 to $46.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Monday. Wolfe Research upgraded Lazard from an “underperform” rating to a “peer perform” rating in a report on Monday, January 6th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research upgraded Lazard from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating and set a $42.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, January 2nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and five have issued a hold rating to the company. Lazard currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $39.20.

Lazard Company Profile

Lazard Ltd, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial advisory and asset management firm worldwide. Its Financial Advisory segment offers various financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising, shareholder advisory, and various other financial matters.

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