Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Franklin Resources Inc. (NYSE:BEN) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Friday.

According to Zacks, “Franklin Resources’ shares have outperformed the Zacks categorized investment management industry year-to-date. We remain optimistic as the company’s strategic acquisitions and strong distribution platform have well positioned the company toward growth. Moreover, the company’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings (ending Sep 2016) beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year as well. Results were primarily driven by reduced expenses, partially offset by lower revenues. The quarter witnessed decline in assets under management (AUM) and recorded net outflows with significant long-term redemptions in global equities and fixed income categories. However, the company’s muted growth in AUM is likely to put a pressure on investment management fees. Also, volatile markets and unfavorable global economic conditions may further affect the company’s performance.”

Several other equities analysts also recently weighed in on BEN. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a neutral rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Tuesday, August 9th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a sell rating on shares of Franklin Resources in a research report on Thursday, November 10th. Citigroup Inc. lifted their price objective on Franklin Resources from $36.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a neutral rating in a research report on Friday, July 29th. Barclays PLC lowered their price objective on Franklin Resources from $31.00 to $30.00 and set an underweight rating for the company in a research report on Friday, July 29th. Finally, Bank of America Corp. raised Franklin Resources from an underperform rating to a neutral rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 9th. Four analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twelve have issued a hold rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus target price of $37.81.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) opened at 38.70 on Friday. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $35.98 and its 200 day moving average price is $35.37. The firm has a market capitalization of $22.01 billion, a PE ratio of 13.17 and a beta of 1.76. Franklin Resources has a 1-year low of $30.56 and a 1-year high of $42.23.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 26th. The closed-end fund reported $0.82 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.69 by $0.13. The company earned $1.61 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.63 billion. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 13.89% and a net margin of 26.09%. Franklin Resources’s revenue was down 14.0% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $0.59 earnings per share. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Franklin Resources will post $2.68 EPS for the current year.

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In related news, Vice Chairman Rupert H. Johnson, Jr. sold 300,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $33.65, for a total value of $10,095,000.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 104,465,045 shares in the company, valued at $3,515,248,764.25. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. 20.41% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Emerald Acquisition Ltd. purchased a new stake in shares of Franklin Resources during the second quarter valued at $31,205,000. Morgan Stanley raised its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 12.8% in the third quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 8,049,532 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $286,321,000 after buying an additional 916,293 shares in the last quarter. Credit Suisse AG raised its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 44.6% in the third quarter. Credit Suisse AG now owns 2,412,366 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $85,807,000 after buying an additional 744,390 shares in the last quarter. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ raised its stake in shares of Franklin Resources by 1,068.4% in the second quarter. Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB publ now owns 762,566 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock valued at $25,447,000 after buying an additional 697,300 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec purchased a new stake in shares of Franklin Resources during the second quarter valued at $20,369,000. 46.99% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Franklin Resources

Franklin Resources, Inc (Franklin), is a holding company. Franklin together with its various subsidiaries (collectively, the Company), is referred to as Franklin Templeton Investments, is a global investment management organization offering investment management and related services under the Franklin, Templeton, Mutual Series, Bissett, Fiduciary and Darby brand names.

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