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Lazard (LAZ) Soars to 52-Week High, Time to Cash Out?

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Have you been paying attention to shares of Lazard (LAZ - Free Report) ? Shares have been on the move with the stock up 1.4% over the past month. The stock hit a new 52-week high of $47.21 in the previous session. Lazard has gained 11.6% since the start of the year compared to the 18.1% move for the Zacks Finance sector and the 24.9% return for the Zacks Financial - Investment Management industry.

What's Driving the Outperformance?

The stock has an impressive record of positive earnings surprises, as it hasn't missed our earnings consensus estimate in any of the last four quarters. In its last earnings report on April 30, 2021, Lazard reported EPS of $0.87 versus consensus estimate of $0.85 while it beat the consensus revenue estimate by 24.29%.

For the current fiscal year, Lazard is expected to post earnings of $4.22 per share on $2.84 billion in revenues. This represents a 17.22% change in EPS on a 12.58% change in revenues. For the next fiscal year, the company is expected to earn $4.64 per share on $2.99 billion in revenues. This represents a year-over-year change of 9.87% and 5.39%, respectively.

Valuation Metrics

Lazard may be at a 52-week high right now, but what might the future hold for the stock? A key aspect of this question is taking a look at valuation metrics in order to determine if the company has run ahead of itself.

On this front, we can look at the Zacks Style Scores, as these give investors a variety of ways to comb through stocks (beyond looking at the Zacks Rank of a security). These styles are represented by grades running from A to F in the categories of Value, Growth, and Momentum, while there is a combined VGM Score as well. The idea behind the style scores is to help investors pick the most appropriate Zacks Rank stocks based on their individual investment style.

Lazard has a Value Score of A. The stock's Growth and Momentum Scores are B and A, respectively, giving the company a VGM Score of A.

In terms of its value breakdown, the stock currently trades at 11.2X current fiscal year EPS estimates. On a trailing cash flow basis, the stock currently trades at 6.2X versus its peer group's average of 14.4X. This isn't enough to put the company in the top echelon of all stocks we cover from a value perspective.

Zacks Rank

We also need to look at the Zacks Rank for the stock, as this supersedes any trend on the style score front. Fortunately, Lazard currently has a Zacks Rank of #2 (Buy) thanks to rising earnings estimates.

Since we recommend that investors select stocks carrying Zacks Rank of 1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and Style Scores of A or B, it looks as if Lazard fits the bill. Thus, it seems as though Lazard shares could have potential in the weeks and months to come.

How Does Lazard Stack Up to the Competition?

Shares of Lazard have been moving higher, and the company still appears to be a decent choice, but what about the rest of the industry? Some of its industry peers are also solid potential picks, including Invesco (IVZ - Free Report) , Virtus Investment Partners (VRTS - Free Report) , and Evercore (EVR - Free Report) , all of which currently have a Zacks Rank of at least #2 and a VGM Score of at least B, making them well-rounded choices.

The Zacks Industry Rank is in the top 45% of all the industries we have in our universe, so it looks like there are some nice tailwinds for Lazard, even beyond its own solid fundamental situation.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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Lazard Ltd (LAZ) - free report >>

Invesco Ltd. (IVZ) - free report >>

Virtus Investment Partners, Inc. (VRTS) - free report >>

Evercore Inc (EVR) - free report >>

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