Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) Position Increased by Blue Harbour Group L.P.

Blue Harbour Group L.P. raised its stake in shares of Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) by 23.4% during the first quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The institutional investor owned 1,720,041 shares of the asset manager’s stock after buying an additional 326,683 shares during the period. Lazard makes up approximately 2.9% of Blue Harbour Group L.P.’s holdings, making the stock its 15th largest position. Blue Harbour Group L.P. owned approximately 1.40% of Lazard worth $79,105,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.

A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also made changes to their positions in the stock. United Capital Financial Advisers LLC acquired a new position in shares of Lazard during the fourth quarter valued at about $308,000. Leuthold Group LLC acquired a new position in shares of Lazard during the fourth quarter valued at about $792,000. Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC raised its position in shares of Lazard by 0.7% in the fourth quarter. Silvercrest Asset Management Group LLC now owns 34,235 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $1,407,000 after buying an additional 230 shares in the last quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. raised its position in shares of Lazard by 7.6% in the fourth quarter. Envestnet Asset Management Inc. now owns 28,893 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $1,188,000 after buying an additional 2,030 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Capstone Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new position in shares of Lazard during the fourth quarter valued at about $1,166,000. 73.99% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Lazard (NYSE:LAZ)

Shares of Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) traded up 1.18% during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $45.35. The stock had a trading volume of 630,675 shares. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $44.31 and a 200 day moving average price of $43.40. Lazard Ltd. has a 52-week low of $26.21 and a 52-week high of $47.09. The firm has a market cap of $5.56 billion, a PE ratio of 14.04 and a beta of 1.88.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, April 27th. The asset manager reported $0.83 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.80 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $624.43 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $611.43 million. Lazard had a return on equity of 36.15% and a net margin of 17.06%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 23.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.50 EPS. Equities analysts predict that Lazard Ltd. will post $3.40 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, May 19th. Investors of record on Monday, May 8th were given a $0.41 dividend. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.62%. The ex-dividend date was Thursday, May 4th. Lazard’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 50.77%.

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A number of research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Credit Suisse Group reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $50.00 price objective on shares of Lazard in a report on Friday, April 21st. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Lazard in a report on Tuesday, April 4th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Lazard from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, June 6th. Finally, Bank of America Corporation raised Lazard from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $47.00 price objective on the stock in a report on Thursday, March 23rd. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and six have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $46.75.

In related news, COO Alexander F. Stern sold 65,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, May 11th. The stock was sold at an average price of $44.75, for a total value of $2,908,750.00. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, General Counsel Scott D. Hoffman sold 35,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $45.13, for a total value of $1,579,550.00. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 190,000 shares of company stock worth $8,521,200 in the last 90 days. 2.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

About Lazard

Lazard Ltd (Lazard) is a financial advisory and asset management company. The Company operates through two segments: Financial Advisory and Asset Management. It serves a range of clients around the world, including corporations, governments, institutions, partnerships and individuals. The Financial Advisory business segment offers corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients across the globe a range of financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising and various other financial matters to corporate, partnership, institutional, government, sovereign and individual clients.

Want to see what other hedge funds are holding LAZ? Visit HoldingsChannel.com to get the latest 13F filings and insider trades for Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ).

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