Waddell & Reed Financial (WDR) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Saturday. They presently have a $24.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 9.79% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Waddell & Reed's shares have marginally outperformed the industry over the last six months. Also, the company has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. As the company is making efforts to improve efficiency and optimize its operations, expenses are likely to trend lower in the next few quarters, thereby supporting bottom-line growth. However, pressure on revenues continues to be a major concern for the company. While, it is taking initiatives through Project E to boost top line, it will take some time to witness a rebound in the same. Also, a declining trend in assets under management (AUM) remains a concern.”

Several other analysts have also issued reports on the stock. Bank of America upped their target price on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial from $17.00 to $18.00 and gave the stock an “underperform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 25th. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $21.00 target price on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial in a research note on Thursday, October 26th. Credit Suisse Group increased their price target on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial from $18.00 to $19.00 and gave the company an “underperform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, October 25th. Jefferies Group increased their price target on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial from $19.00 to $20.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, October 10th. Finally, ValuEngine upgraded shares of Waddell & Reed Financial from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Monday, October 2nd. Six equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $19.38.

Waddell & Reed Financial (WDR) traded up $0.04 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $21.86. 878,587 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 797,764. Waddell & Reed Financial has a 12-month low of $16.11 and a 12-month high of $22.88. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.11, a quick ratio of 1.14 and a current ratio of 3.02. The company has a market cap of $1,819.16, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.73 and a beta of 2.11.

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, October 24th. The asset manager reported $0.45 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.04. Waddell & Reed Financial had a net margin of 10.10% and a return on equity of 16.81%. The firm had revenue of $289.45 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $285.30 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.65 EPS. The business’s revenue was down 4.5% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Waddell & Reed Financial will post 1.56 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, SVP Wendy J. Hills sold 31,273 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.41, for a total transaction of $700,827.93. Following the completion of the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 151,602 shares in the company, valued at $3,397,400.82. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CAO John E. Sundeen, Jr. sold 45,168 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Thursday, December 21st. The shares were sold at an average price of $22.48, for a total transaction of $1,015,376.64. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 270,437 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,079,423.76. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last 90 days, insiders have sold 100,619 shares of company stock valued at $2,192,613. 3.80% of the stock is owned by company insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of WDR. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS boosted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 0.4% during the first quarter. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Public School Empls Retrmt SYS now owns 12,310 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $209,000 after purchasing an additional 50 shares during the period. MSI Financial Services Inc boosted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 1.5% during the third quarter. MSI Financial Services Inc now owns 5,837 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $106,000 after purchasing an additional 89 shares during the period. State Treasurer State of Michigan boosted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 0.3% during the second quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 32,700 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $563,000 after purchasing an additional 100 shares during the period. Cipher Capital LP boosted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 0.8% during the first quarter. Cipher Capital LP now owns 13,127 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $223,000 after purchasing an additional 104 shares during the period. Finally, Eaton Vance Management boosted its position in Waddell & Reed Financial by 0.9% during the second quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 16,538 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $312,000 after purchasing an additional 149 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 97.43% of the company’s stock.

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About Waddell & Reed Financial

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc, incorporated on December 24, 1981, is a holding company. The Company is a mutual fund and asset management company. The Company provides investment management, investment advisory, investment product underwriting, and distribution and shareholder services administration to Waddell & Reed Advisors group of mutual funds (the Advisors Funds), Ivy Funds, Ivy Funds Variable Insurance Portfolios (Ivy Funds VIP), InvestEd Portfolios and 529 college savings plan (collectively, the Funds), and the Ivy Global Investors Fund SICAV (the SICAV) and its Ivy Global Investors sub-funds (the IGI Funds), and institutional and separately managed accounts.

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