Legg Mason (LM) Lifted to “Neutral” at Bank of America

Bank of America upgraded shares of Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note released on Friday morning, Marketbeat.com reports. The brokerage currently has $29.00 price objective on the asset manager’s stock, down from their previous price objective of $30.00.

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Morgan Stanley raised their price objective on Legg Mason from $31.00 to $32.00 and gave the stock a sell rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 9th. Deutsche Bank cut Legg Mason from a buy rating to a hold rating and reduced their price objective for the stock from $31.00 to $27.00 in a research note on Thursday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Legg Mason from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Monday, December 31st. Jefferies Financial Group reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $39.00 target price on shares of Legg Mason in a report on Thursday, October 11th. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a buy rating and issued a $33.00 price objective on shares of Legg Mason in a report on Monday, October 29th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. Legg Mason presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $37.55.

LM opened at $26.70 on Friday. Legg Mason has a 12-month low of $23.25 and a 12-month high of $47.13. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.50, a quick ratio of 1.27 and a current ratio of 1.77. The firm has a market cap of $2.31 billion, a PE ratio of 7.18, a PEG ratio of 0.54 and a beta of 1.60.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 24th. The asset manager reported $0.82 EPS for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by ($0.01). Legg Mason had a net margin of 11.81% and a return on equity of 8.03%. The business had revenue of $758.43 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $755.29 million. On average, equities analysts expect that Legg Mason will post 3.12 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, January 14th. Stockholders of record on Wednesday, December 19th will be issued a dividend of $0.34 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, December 18th. This represents a $1.36 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 5.09%. Legg Mason’s payout ratio is 36.56%.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Retirement Systems of Alabama increased its holdings in shares of Legg Mason by 0.4% during the 4th quarter. Retirement Systems of Alabama now owns 110,892 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $2,829,000 after purchasing an additional 464 shares during the period. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. increased its stake in Legg Mason by 113.0% in the third quarter. Cornerstone Advisors Inc. now owns 1,127 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $35,000 after acquiring an additional 598 shares during the period. United Services Automobile Association increased its stake in Legg Mason by 10.0% in the third quarter. United Services Automobile Association now owns 19,429 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $607,000 after acquiring an additional 1,760 shares during the period. State of Alaska Department of Revenue increased its stake in Legg Mason by 25.4% in the third quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 8,815 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $275,000 after acquiring an additional 1,785 shares during the period. Finally, Strategy Asset Managers LLC increased its stake in Legg Mason by 0.7% in the third quarter. Strategy Asset Managers LLC now owns 277,278 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $8,659,000 after acquiring an additional 1,791 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 83.92% of the company’s stock.

About Legg Mason

Legg Mason, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides investment management and related services to company-sponsored mutual funds and other investment vehicles including pension funds, foundations, endowments, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, private banks, family offices, individuals, as well as to global, institutional, and retail clients.

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