Stock Traders Buy High Volume of Put Options on Franklin Resources (BEN)

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Franklin Resources, Inc. (NYSE:BEN) was the recipient of unusually large options trading on Thursday. Traders acquired 2,804 put options on the company. This represents an increase of approximately 1,210% compared to the average volume of 214 put options.

Shares of BEN opened at $30.14 on Friday. The company has a current ratio of 3.37, a quick ratio of 3.37 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.07. Franklin Resources has a 52 week low of $29.95 and a 52 week high of $45.96. The company has a market capitalization of $16.56 billion, a PE ratio of 10.01, a P/E/G ratio of 1.63 and a beta of 1.52.

Franklin Resources (NYSE:BEN) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Friday, July 27th. The closed-end fund reported $0.75 EPS for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.75. Franklin Resources had a return on equity of 15.40% and a net margin of 10.72%. The firm had revenue of $1.56 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.57 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm posted $0.73 EPS. The business’s revenue for the quarter was down 3.4% compared to the same quarter last year. analysts forecast that Franklin Resources will post 3.14 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 12th. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 28th will be given a $0.23 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 27th. This represents a $0.92 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 3.05%. Franklin Resources’s dividend payout ratio is currently 30.56%.

BEN has been the topic of a number of research analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Franklin Resources from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Friday, August 24th. Deutsche Bank reduced their target price on Franklin Resources from $33.00 to $32.00 and set a “hold” rating on the stock in a report on Thursday, August 16th. Jefferies Financial Group reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $33.00 target price on shares of Franklin Resources in a report on Friday, July 13th. Wells Fargo & Co reduced their target price on Franklin Resources from $35.00 to $34.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, July 30th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Franklin Resources from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and reduced their target price for the stock from $32.00 to $29.00 in a report on Thursday. Five investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating and eight have assigned a hold rating to the company. Franklin Resources currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $37.25.

In other Franklin Resources news, EVP Craig Steven Tyle sold 11,165 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, September 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.35, for a total transaction of $350,022.75. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. 22.20% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of BEN. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 11.8% in the 1st quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 24,827,358 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $861,012,000 after purchasing an additional 2,615,864 shares in the last quarter. Morgan Stanley boosted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 108.2% in the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 3,197,116 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $102,468,000 after purchasing an additional 1,661,189 shares in the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group boosted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 81.7% in the 1st quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 2,911,317 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $100,964,000 after purchasing an additional 1,309,429 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 118.4% in the 1st quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 2,192,524 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $76,037,000 after purchasing an additional 1,188,556 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Kiltearn Partners LLP boosted its position in shares of Franklin Resources by 11.6% in the 1st quarter. Kiltearn Partners LLP now owns 7,279,300 shares of the closed-end fund’s stock worth $248,297,000 after purchasing an additional 759,300 shares in the last quarter. 46.98% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Franklin Resources

Franklin Resources, Inc is a publicly owned asset management holding company. Through its subsidiaries, the firm provides its services to individuals, institutions, pension plans, trusts, and partnerships. It launches equity, fixed income, balanced, and multi-asset mutual funds through its subsidiaries.

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