Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Monday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Lazard have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Earnings estimates have remained stable ahead of the company's fourth quarer 2018 results. Yet, the company displayed an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company is well positioned to grow organically, driven by strength in its Financial Advisory and Asset Management segments. Focus on cost management will likely enhance the company’s profitability. Nevertheless, its dependence on local and global economic conditions for revenue generation and regulatory pressure can hurt top-line growth in the near term. Further, less chance of sustainability of its capital deployement plans is a concern.”

LAZ has been the topic of a number of other research reports. ValuEngine downgraded shares of Lazard from a “sell” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report on Thursday, November 15th. Buckingham Research dropped their price target on shares of Lazard from $64.00 to $52.00 and set a “neutral” rating on the stock in a research report on Friday, October 26th. Wolfe Research downgraded shares of Lazard from a “market perform” rating to an “underperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, January 8th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods restated a “mkt perform” rating and issued a $41.00 price target on shares of Lazard in a research report on Friday, January 4th. Finally, Goldman Sachs Group assumed coverage on shares of Lazard in a research report on Tuesday, November 6th. They issued a “neutral” rating and a $46.00 price target on the stock. Three analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $53.14.

NYSE:LAZ traded up $0.44 during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $37.30. 38,619 shares of the company’s stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 1,025,018. The company has a market cap of $4.86 billion, a PE ratio of 9.83, a P/E/G ratio of 1.05 and a beta of 1.67. Lazard has a fifty-two week low of $33.54 and a fifty-two week high of $60.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.28, a current ratio of 1.83 and a quick ratio of 1.83.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The asset manager reported $0.86 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.93 by ($0.07). The firm had revenue of $605.61 million during the quarter. Lazard had a return on equity of 49.98% and a net margin of 11.49%. Equities research analysts expect that Lazard will post 4.26 EPS for the current year.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. State of Alaska Department of Revenue increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 3.3% in the 4th quarter. State of Alaska Department of Revenue now owns 31,524 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $1,162,000 after acquiring an additional 1,015 shares in the last quarter. Putnam Investments LLC increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 27.0% in the 2nd quarter. Putnam Investments LLC now owns 5,664 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $277,000 after acquiring an additional 1,203 shares in the last quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its stake in shares of Lazard by 0.8% in the 2nd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 214,932 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $10,512,000 after acquiring an additional 1,675 shares in the last quarter. Moody Aldrich Partners LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 2nd quarter valued at $100,510,000. Finally, Belpointe Asset Management LLC bought a new stake in shares of Lazard in the 3rd quarter valued at $111,000. Institutional investors own 71.34% of the company’s stock.

Lazard Company Profile

Lazard Ltd, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial advisory and asset management firm worldwide. Its Financial Advisory segment offers various financial advisory services regarding mergers and acquisitions and other strategic matters, restructurings, capital structure, capital raising, shareholder advisory, and various other financial matters.

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