Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) shares were up 5.1% during mid-day trading on Thursday after the company announced better than expected quarterly earnings. The stock traded as high as $39.87 and last traded at $39.58. Approximately 2,229,654 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 143% from the average daily volume of 918,182 shares. The stock had previously closed at $37.65.

The asset manager reported $0.86 earnings per share for the quarter, beating analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.71 by $0.15. Legg Mason had a net margin of 11.21% and a return on equity of 7.81%. The business had revenue of $785.10 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $755.98 million. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.76 EPS. The company’s revenue was up 8.6% compared to the same quarter last year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 9th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 12th will be issued a $0.34 dividend. This is a boost from Legg Mason’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.28. This represents a $1.36 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.43%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 11th. Legg Mason’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 30.11%.

A number of analysts have recently weighed in on LM shares. Morgan Stanley raised their price target on shares of Legg Mason from $40.00 to $42.00 and gave the company a “sell” rating in a report on Tuesday, January 30th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Legg Mason from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Tuesday, March 27th. Deutsche Bank lowered their target price on shares of Legg Mason from $48.00 to $46.00 and set a “buy” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, March 6th. Royal Bank of Canada lifted their target price on shares of Legg Mason to $57.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, January 25th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group cut shares of Legg Mason from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating and set a $49.00 target price for the company. in a research note on Wednesday, January 3rd. Three research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have assigned a hold rating and three have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $47.10.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Advisors Preferred LLC acquired a new stake in Legg Mason in the 4th quarter worth approximately $162,000. Bessemer Group Inc. boosted its stake in Legg Mason by 219.1% in the 4th quarter. Bessemer Group Inc. now owns 4,499 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $189,000 after purchasing an additional 3,089 shares in the last quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank boosted its stake in Legg Mason by 47.5% in the 4th quarter. Zurcher Kantonalbank Zurich Cantonalbank now owns 4,711 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $198,000 after purchasing an additional 1,518 shares in the last quarter. Murphy Pohlad Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in Legg Mason in the 4th quarter worth approximately $205,000. Finally, State of Alaska Department of Revenue purchased a new position in Legg Mason during the 4th quarter worth approximately $247,000. Institutional investors own 91.46% of the company’s stock.

The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.58, a quick ratio of 1.41 and a current ratio of 1.98. The stock has a market capitalization of $3,182.94, a PE ratio of 10.66, a P/E/G ratio of 0.66 and a beta of 2.05.

About Legg Mason

Legg Mason, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides investment management and related services to company-sponsored mutual funds and other investment vehicles including pension funds, foundations, endowments, sovereign wealth funds, insurance companies, private banks, family offices, individuals, as well as to global, institutional, and retail clients.

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