Zacks Investment Research Lowers Blackstone Group (BX) to Sell

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

According to Zacks, “Blackstone has an impressive earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. The company’s fourth-quarter 2017 results benefited from higher revenues, partially offset by an increase in costs. The company remains well positioned to capitalize on its fund-raising ability and continue to benefit from revenue mix, persistent asset inflows and inorganic growth efforts. However, elevated expenses, mainly due to higher compensation costs along with its higher dependence on management and advisory fees for revenues, remain key concern. Sustainability of its quarterly distribution (owing to higher debt equity ratio than the industry) is less, thus making us apprehensive. These concerns seem to be weighing on the stock, which has underperformed the industry in the last three months.”

A number of other equities analysts have also commented on the company. JPMorgan Chase & Co. upgraded Blackstone Group from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and lifted their price objective for the stock from $34.53 to $46.00 in a research note on Friday, January 12th. Vetr lowered Blackstone Group from a “strong-buy” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $35.50 price objective on the stock. in a research note on Monday, December 4th. Morgan Stanley lifted their price objective on Blackstone Group from $40.00 to $41.00 and gave the stock an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, October 23rd. Bank of America lifted their price objective on Blackstone Group from $38.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, October 20th. Finally, Credit Suisse Group reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $47.00 price objective on shares of Blackstone Group in a research note on Thursday, January 11th. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, three have given a hold rating and seven have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $39.90.

Shares of Blackstone Group (NYSE BX) traded up $0.38 during trading hours on Monday, hitting $33.33. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 430,730 shares, compared to its average volume of 6,268,517. Blackstone Group has a 12 month low of $28.45 and a 12 month high of $37.52. The firm has a market capitalization of $40,060.00, a PE ratio of 15.39, a P/E/G ratio of 1.12 and a beta of 1.34. The company has a quick ratio of 1.05, a current ratio of 1.05 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.95.

Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, February 1st. The asset manager reported $0.71 EPS for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.67 by $0.04. The business had revenue of $1.88 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.73 billion. Blackstone Group had a return on equity of 22.46% and a net margin of 20.66%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 19.9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company posted $0.68 earnings per share. equities analysts forecast that Blackstone Group will post 3.1 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, insider John G. Finley sold 20,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 15th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.64, for a total transaction of $632,800.00. Following the transaction, the insider now directly owns 87,852 shares in the company, valued at $2,779,637.28. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, insider John G. Finley sold 800 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, December 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.00, for a total value of $25,600.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 87,852 shares in the company, valued at $2,811,264. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.00% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the stock. Bank of Montreal Can boosted its holdings in Blackstone Group by 77.0% during the fourth quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 22,232,729 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $711,892,000 after purchasing an additional 9,669,716 shares in the last quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its holdings in Blackstone Group by 2,189.3% during the third quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 1,911,552 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $63,787,000 after purchasing an additional 1,828,052 shares in the last quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership boosted its holdings in Blackstone Group by 2,407.1% during the fourth quarter. Arrowstreet Capital Limited Partnership now owns 1,579,492 shares of the asset manager’s stock valued at $50,575,000 after purchasing an additional 1,516,492 shares in the last quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 135.5% in the 3rd quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC now owns 1,942,237 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $64,812,000 after acquiring an additional 1,117,412 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Swedbank boosted its holdings in shares of Blackstone Group by 14.6% in the 3rd quarter. Swedbank now owns 5,433,122 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $181,303,000 after acquiring an additional 693,200 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 45.24% of the company’s stock.

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About Blackstone Group

The Blackstone Group L.P. is a global alternative asset manager. The Company’s alternative asset management businesses include investment vehicles focused on private equity, non-investment grade credit, secondary private equity funds of funds and multi-asset class strategies. It operates through four segments: Private Equity, Real Estate, Hedge Fund Solutions and Credit.

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