Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday, August 2nd.

According to Zacks, “Franklin Resources’ shares underperformed the industry over the past one year. The company’s third-quarter fiscal 2017 earnings came in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Lower revenues and elevated operating expenses were recorded. Net outflows were also an undermining factor. However, growth in assets under management (AUM) was witnessed. We remain optimistic as strategic acquisitions and solid distribution platform have well positioned the company for growth. Further, management expects expenses in fiscal 2017 to remain flat or decline slightly considering the impact of previous cost-cutting initiatives. Though volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may affect its performance and hurt profitability, the company's involvement in steady capital deployment activities boosts shareholders’ confidence.”

BEN has been the subject of a number of other reports. Morgan Stanley reaffirmed an “underweight” rating and set a $40.00 price objective (up from $39.00) on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Monday, July 10th. Credit Suisse Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and set a $37.00 price objective on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, April 7th. Deutsche Bank AG increased their target price on Franklin Resources from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 6th. BidaskClub downgraded Franklin Resources from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, July 31st. Finally, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $47.00 target price on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, July 6th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $43.18.

Shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE BEN) traded up 0.28% during midday trading on Wednesday, reaching $42.75. 1,384,434 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. The stock’s 50-day moving average price is $45.10 and its 200 day moving average price is $42.93. Franklin Resources has a one year low of $33.02 and a one year high of $47.65. The firm has a market capitalization of $23.84 billion, a PE ratio of 13.91 and a beta of 1.73.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The closed-end fund reported $0.73 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.73. The company had revenue of $1.61 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.62 billion. Franklin Resources had a net margin of 27.30% and a return on equity of 13.96%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.77 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post $2.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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In other Franklin Resources news, CFO Kenneth A. Lewis sold 17,141 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.51, for a total value of $762,945.91. Following the completion of the sale, the chief financial officer now owns 124,021 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,520,174.71. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this hyperlink. 21.60% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of BEN. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. increased its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 22.8% in the first quarter. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. now owns 17,002 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $716,000 after buying an additional 3,161 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. increased its stake in Franklin Resources by 1,550.0% in the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 21,119,419 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $889,973,000 after buying an additional 19,839,472 shares during the period. Korea Investment CORP increased its stake in Franklin Resources by 12.0% in the first quarter. Korea Investment CORP now owns 204,537 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $8,619,000 after buying an additional 21,995 shares during the period. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its stake in Franklin Resources by 996.3% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 716,720 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $30,203,000 after buying an additional 651,346 shares during the period. Finally, Gulf International Bank UK Ltd increased its stake in Franklin Resources by 1.3% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 119,694 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $5,043,000 after buying an additional 1,550 shares during the period. 45.80% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About Franklin Resources

Franklin Resources, Inc is a holding company. The Company, along with its subsidiaries, operates as Franklin Templeton Investments. It is a global investment management company that provides investment management and related services to retail, institutional and high net-worth clients in jurisdictions around the world.

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