Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN) Lifted to Buy at Bank of America Corp

Bank of America Corp upgraded shares of Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research report sent to investors on Thursday morning. The firm currently has $50.00 target price on the closed-end fund’s stock.

Other research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. TheStreet upgraded Franklin Resources from a c rating to a b- rating in a research report on Friday, March 3rd. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Franklin Resources from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, November 25th. Deutsche Bank AG upgraded Franklin Resources from a sell rating to a hold rating and lifted their price target for the company from $37.00 to $41.00 in a research report on Friday, February 24th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Citigroup Inc lifted their price target on Franklin Resources from $40.00 to $40.50 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 25th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. reiterated a neutral rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, January 12th. Three equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating, one has given a buy rating and one has given a strong buy rating to the stock. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $38.88.

Analyst Recommendations for Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) opened at 42.04 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average price is $41.89 and its 200-day moving average price is $38.65. Franklin Resources has a 52-week low of $30.56 and a 52-week high of $44.35. The company has a market capitalization of $23.77 billion, a P/E ratio of 14.17 and a beta of 1.78.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Friday, January 27th. The closed-end fund reported $0.77 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.09. The company earned $1.56 billion during the quarter. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 13.88% and a net margin of 26.77%. The firm’s revenue was down 11.2% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.74 earnings per share. Analysts predict that Franklin Resources will post $2.69 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 13th. Stockholders of record on Friday, March 31st will be given a $0.20 dividend. This represents a $0.80 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.90%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, March 29th. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 26.94%.

In other news, Chairman Gregory E. Johnson sold 25,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, February 27th. The stock was sold at an average price of $43.18, for a total value of $1,079,500.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now directly owns 2,162,863 shares in the company, valued at $93,392,424.34. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this link. Also, insider Jennifer M. Johnson sold 16,835 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $43.90, for a total value of $739,056.50. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 1,521,037 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $66,773,524.30. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 21.60% of the stock is owned by insiders.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. HBK Sorce Advisory LLC acquired a new stake in Franklin Resources during the third quarter worth approximately $103,000. Virtus Investment Advisers Inc. acquired a new stake in Franklin Resources during the third quarter worth approximately $104,000. Itau Unibanco Holding S.A. acquired a new stake in Franklin Resources during the third quarter worth approximately $128,000. SRB Corp boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 8.0% in the third quarter. SRB Corp now owns 4,302 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $153,000 after buying an additional 317 shares during the period. Finally, Van ECK Associates Corp boosted its stake in Franklin Resources by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Van ECK Associates Corp now owns 4,571 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $181,000 after buying an additional 48 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 48.31% of the company’s stock.

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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