Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report released on Tuesday, August 1st. The brokerage currently has $50.00 target price on the closed-end fund’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Franklin Resources’ shares outperformed 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.”

Several other brokerages have also commented on BEN. Wells Fargo & Company lowered shares of Franklin Resources from an outperform rating to a market perform rating and set a $50.00 price target for the company. in a report on Monday, July 24th. Jefferies Group LLC reissued a hold rating and issued a $44.00 price target on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, July 14th. Morgan Stanley reissued an underweight rating and issued a $40.00 price target (up previously from $39.00) on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Monday, July 10th. BidaskClub raised shares of Franklin Resources from a buy rating to a strong-buy rating in a report on Wednesday, July 12th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG boosted their price target on shares of Franklin Resources from $41.00 to $42.00 and gave the stock a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, July 4th. Four investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eight have issued a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The company presently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $43.18.

Shares of Franklin Resources (NYSE BEN) opened at 41.83 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $44.83 and a 200-day moving average of $42.99. Franklin Resources has a 52 week low of $33.02 and a 52 week high of $47.65. The stock has a market capitalization of $23.33 billion, a PE ratio of 13.61 and a beta of 1.73.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 28th. The closed-end fund reported $0.73 EPS for the quarter, hitting the 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 revenue was down 1.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm earned $0.77 EPS. On average, equities research analysts expect that Franklin Resources will post $2.95 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, CFO Kenneth A. Lewis sold 17,141 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, June 22nd. The shares were 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 legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Corporate insiders own 21.60% of the company’s stock.

Large investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Cambridge Investment Research Advisors Inc. raised 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 worth $716,000 after buying an additional 3,161 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Korea Investment CORP raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. Finally, Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its stake in shares of 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 in the last quarter. 45.68% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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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