Short Interest in Legg Mason Inc (NYSE:LM) Decreases By 17.1%

Legg Mason Inc (NYSE:LM) saw a large drop in short interest in the month of June. As of June 30th, there was short interest totalling 3,784,700 shares, a drop of 17.1% from the May 30th total of 4,564,300 shares. Based on an average trading volume of 1,030,000 shares, the short-interest ratio is currently 3.7 days. Approximately 4.5% of the shares of the stock are sold short.

Several brokerages recently issued reports on LM. Morgan Stanley set a $100.00 price objective on Cimarex Energy and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 16th. Royal Bank of Canada cut their price objective on Advance Auto Parts to $178.00 and set an “outperform” rating for the company in a research report on Tuesday, May 14th. Gabelli restated a “buy” rating on shares of Legg Mason in a research report on Wednesday, April 10th. Zacks Investment Research downgraded GreenTree Hospitality Group from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Monday, May 20th. Finally, ValuEngine cut shares of Viewray from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, April 24th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Legg Mason presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $33.22.

In related news, VP Thomas C. Merchant sold 5,582 shares of Legg Mason stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.11, for a total transaction of $201,566.02. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now directly owns 78,586 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,837,740.46. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CAO Ursula Schliessler sold 3,608 shares of Legg Mason stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, May 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.03, for a total value of $129,996.24. Following the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 27,495 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $990,644.85. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have sold 63,378 shares of company stock valued at $2,292,180. Insiders own 8.08% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. purchased a new stake in Legg Mason in the 4th quarter worth approximately $104,000. NumerixS Investment Technologies Inc purchased a new stake in Legg Mason in the 1st quarter worth approximately $132,000. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC grew its stake in Legg Mason by 9.8% in the 4th quarter. Barrow Hanley Mewhinney & Strauss LLC now owns 6,261 shares of the asset manager’s stock worth $159,000 after acquiring an additional 559 shares during the period. HighPoint Advisor Group LLC purchased a new stake in Legg Mason in the 4th quarter worth approximately $205,000. Finally, KMG Fiduciary Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Legg Mason in the 1st quarter worth approximately $208,000. 84.40% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

LM stock traded up $0.42 during midday trading on Friday, hitting $38.68. The stock had a trading volume of 685,131 shares, compared to its average volume of 659,420. The company has a market cap of $3.31 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 12.72, a PEG ratio of 0.71 and a beta of 1.50. The company has a current ratio of 1.82, a quick ratio of 1.36 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.53. Legg Mason has a 12-month low of $23.25 and a 12-month high of $38.82. The business has a 50-day moving average price of $37.07.

Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) last released its earnings results on Monday, May 13th. The asset manager reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.54 by $0.16. The firm had revenue of $692.60 million during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $699.24 million. Legg Mason had a negative net margin of 0.98% and a positive return on equity of 7.30%. Legg Mason’s revenue for the quarter was down 11.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the previous year, the company earned $0.86 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Legg Mason will post 3.3 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 22nd. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, July 2nd will be paid a $0.40 dividend. This is a boost from Legg Mason’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.34. This represents a $1.60 annualized dividend and a yield of 4.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, July 1st. Legg Mason’s payout ratio is presently 52.63%.

Legg Mason Company Profile

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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