Franklin Resources, Inc. (BEN) Stock Rating Reaffirmed by Morgan Stanley

Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN)‘s stock had its “underweight” rating reiterated by Morgan Stanley in a research report issued to clients and investors on Friday.

Several other research analysts have also commented on BEN. Citigroup Inc boosted their price target on Franklin Resources from $40.00 to $40.50 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 25th. Credit Suisse Group AG reissued an “underperform” rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Saturday, December 10th. Deutsche Bank AG raised Franklin Resources from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating and boosted their price target for the stock from $37.00 to $41.00 in a research report on Friday, February 24th. They noted that the move was a valuation call. JPMorgan Chase & Co. reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, January 12th. Finally, TheStreet raised Franklin Resources from a “c” rating to a “b-” rating in a research report on Friday, March 3rd. Three 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 company. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $38.88.

Analyst Recommendations for Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN)

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) opened at 42.04 on Friday. Franklin Resources has a 12 month low of $30.56 and a 12 month high of $44.35. The stock has a market capitalization of $23.77 billion, a PE ratio of 14.17 and a beta of 1.78. The firm has a 50-day moving average price of $41.89 and a 200 day moving average price of $38.65.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Friday, January 27th. The closed-end fund reported $0.77 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.68 by $0.09. The firm 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 company’s revenue was down 11.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.74 earnings per share. Equities analysts anticipate that Franklin Resources will post $2.69 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, April 13th. Investors of record on Friday, March 31st will be given a dividend of $0.20 per share. This represents a $0.80 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.90%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, March 29th. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio is currently 26.94%.

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

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Elkhorn Investments LLC acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter valued at about $826,000. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter valued at about $93,377,000. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans raised its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 68.0% in the fourth quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 75,911 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $3,005,000 after buying an additional 30,730 shares in the last quarter. DZ BANK AG Deutsche Zentral Genossenschafts Bank Frankfurt am Main acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter valued at about $624,000. Finally, Clough Capital Partners L P acquired a new position in shares of Franklin Resources during the fourth quarter valued at about $7,354,000. 48.31% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Franklin Resources Company Profile

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.

5 Day Chart for NYSE:BEN

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