Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) Cut to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Monday, Zacks.com reports. The brokerage currently has $17.00 price target on the asset manager’s stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Waddell & Reed have underperformed the industry over the past year. The company’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. Its fourth-quarter 2019 results benefitted from growth in assets under management (AUM), partly offset by lower revenues and higher expenses. The company’s focus on strengthening the Wealth Management channel is expected to lead to an increase in asset inflows. Its efficient capital-deployment activities reflect a solid balance sheet position. However, a challenging operating environment and changing investor preference toward lower-risk investment products are likely to keep top-line growth muted. A declining trend in AUM is a major concern. Moreover, the presence of substantial intangibles on the company’s balance sheet makes us apprehensive.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the company. Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a sell rating and issued a $14.00 target price on shares of Waddell & Reed Financial in a report on Monday, January 6th. ValuEngine upgraded Waddell & Reed Financial from a hold rating to a buy rating in a report on Wednesday, October 30th. Five research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has given a hold rating and two have issued a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of Hold and an average price target of $15.67.

Shares of Waddell & Reed Financial stock opened at $14.78 on Monday. The stock’s fifty day moving average is $16.44 and its two-hundred day moving average is $16.42. The company has a market capitalization of $1.05 billion, a PE ratio of 9.47 and a beta of 1.44. The company has a quick ratio of 1.18, a current ratio of 3.73 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.12. Waddell & Reed Financial has a 52 week low of $14.70 and a 52 week high of $19.18.

Waddell & Reed Financial (NYSE:WDR) last issued its earnings results on Tuesday, February 4th. The asset manager reported $0.51 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.41 by $0.10. Waddell & Reed Financial had a return on equity of 15.74% and a net margin of 10.74%. The business had revenue of $270.10 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $268.85 million. During the same period in the prior year, the business earned $0.60 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down .8% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, research analysts anticipate that Waddell & Reed Financial will post 1.65 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, February 3rd. Shareholders of record on Monday, January 13th were issued a $0.25 dividend. This represents a $1.00 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 6.77%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, January 10th. Waddell & Reed Financial’s dividend payout ratio is 53.19%.

Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the business. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Waddell & Reed Financial by 360.6% during the 4th quarter. Jacobs Levy Equity Management Inc. now owns 1,103,085 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $18,444,000 after purchasing an additional 863,577 shares during the last quarter. Man Group plc lifted its stake in shares of Waddell & Reed Financial by 143.2% during the 3rd quarter. Man Group plc now owns 522,960 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $8,984,000 after purchasing an additional 307,910 shares during the last quarter. Chicago Equity Partners LLC lifted its stake in shares of Waddell & Reed Financial by 898.9% during the 3rd quarter. Chicago Equity Partners LLC now owns 247,375 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $4,250,000 after purchasing an additional 222,610 shares during the last quarter. Mackay Shields LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Waddell & Reed Financial during the 3rd quarter worth $3,776,000. Finally, UBS Group AG lifted its stake in shares of Waddell & Reed Financial by 317.2% during the 4th quarter. UBS Group AG now owns 270,855 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $4,528,000 after purchasing an additional 205,935 shares during the last quarter.

About Waddell & Reed Financial

Waddell & Reed Financial, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides investment management and advisory, investment product underwriting and distribution, and shareholder services administration to mutual funds, and institutional and separately managed accounts in the United States. The company acts as an investment adviser for institutional and other private investors, and provides sub advisory services to other investment companies; and underwrites and distributes registered open-end mutual fund portfolios.

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