Share on StockTwits

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) was downgraded by Zacks from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report released on Friday. They currently have a $54.00 price objective on the stock. Zacks‘s price target indicates a potential upside of 4.05% from the company’s current price.

Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are downgrading our long-term recommendation on Lazard to Neutral based on increased operating expenses in first-quarter 2014, despite cost savings initiatives. However, the company’s adjusted earnings significantly surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and compared favorably with the prior-year quarter figure. Strong top-line growth and higher assets under management (AUM) were the positives. We believe that the company’s diverse footprint and cost containment initiatives position it favorably in the long run. Moreover, Lazard’s capital deployment efforts are expected to further enhance investors’ confidence in the stock. Yet, the sluggish macroeconomic environment and stringent regulations will likely put Lazard’s profitability under pressure in the near term. “

Shares of Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) traded down 0.08% on Friday, hitting $51.86. 346,739 shares of the company’s stock traded hands. Lazard has a 52-week low of $30.63 and a 52-week high of $53.18. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $50.38 and its 200-day moving average is $46.35. The company has a market cap of $6.370 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.64. Lazard also saw a significant increase in short interest during the month of May. As of May 30th, there was short interest totalling 2,507,468 shares, an increase of 304.7% from the May 15th total of 619,588 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 718,042 shares, the days-to-cover ratio is presently 3.5 days. Approximately 2.0% of the shares of the company are sold short.

Lazard (NYSE:LAZ) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, May 1st. The company reported $0.61 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.54 by $0.07. The company had revenue of $540.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $514.80 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.28 earnings per share. The company’s quarterly revenue was up 30.4% on a year-over-year basis. Analysts expect that Lazard will post $2.75 EPS for the current fiscal year.

LAZ has been the subject of a number of other recent research reports. Analysts at Bernstein initiated coverage on shares of Lazard in a research note on Tuesday, June 3rd. They set an “outperform” rating and a $60.00 price target on the stock. Separately, analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein initiated coverage on shares of Lazard in a research note on Tuesday, June 3rd. They set an “outperform” rating and a $60.00 price target on the stock. Finally, analysts at Susquehanna reiterated a “hold” rating on shares of Lazard in a research note on Friday, May 23rd. They now have a $28.00 price target on the stock. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating, six have given a buy rating and one has issued a strong buy rating to the company. Lazard presently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $50.31.

Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) is a holding company.

To view Zacks’ full report, visit Zacks’ official website.

Get Analysts' Upgrades and Downgrades via Email - Stay on top of analysts' coverage with Analyst Ratings Network's FREE daily email newsletter that provides a concise list of analysts' upgrades and downgrades. Click here to register now.