Is Lazard Ltd (LAZ) Becoming More Panic-Prone?

Undoubtedly, Lazard Ltd (NYSE:LAZ) has been one of the most volatile stocks in the market in recent times, and the way it handled Thursday’s volatility suggests the stock may be poised to decline heading into short-terms. The shares dropped -0.5 points or -1.37 percent at $36.05 with a light trade volume of 2.027 million shares. After opening the session at $36.3, the shares went as high as $36.59 and as low as $35.48, the range within which the stock’s price traded throughout the day. The firm is left with a market cap of $4.62 billion and now has 128.13 million shares outstanding. Lazard Ltd (LAZ) stock has lost -6.37 percent of market value in 21 trading days.

LAZ stock has a trailing 3-year beta of 1.57, offering the possibility of a higher rate of return, but also posing more risk. The portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock was $4.06 a share in the trailing twelve months. The stock’s value has fallen -1.05 percent year to date (YTD) against a decline of -34.4 percent in 12 month’s time. The company’s shares still trade -35.68 percent away from its 1-year high of $56.05 and 8.9 percent up from 52-week low of $33.11. The average consensus rating on the company is 2.4, on a scale where 5 equates to a unanimous sell rating. In short, the mean analyst recommendations are calling this stock a sell.

Lazard Ltd (LAZ) will probably climb 26.57 percent over the next 12 months, according to price target estimates compiled by finviz. Meanwhile, they have set a $54-month high price target. This represents a whopping 49.79 percent increase from where shares are trading today. The 12-month median price target assigned by the analysts stands at $45, which represents a return potential of 24.83 percent when compared to the closing price of the stock of $36.05 on Thursday, March 14. The lowest price target for the stock is $39 — slightly more than 8.18 percent from LAZ’s current share price.

History has shown that shares in Lazard Ltd have gone up on 25 different earnings reaction days and are predicted to add 0.02 percent when the company reports upcoming earnings.

The stock is currently hovering around the first support level of $35.49. Below this, the next support is placed in the zone of $34.93. Till the time, the LAZ stock trades above this level, bulls have nothing to fear. On momentum oscillators front, ‘RSI’ has touched 43 on daily chart, which may remain a cause for concern. If the price breaks below $34.93 level on closing basis, then we may see more profit booking and the stock may show further weakness. On the flipside, hitting the $36.6 mark may result into a pull-back move towards $37.15 level.

Shares of Lazard Ltd (LAZ) are trading at a P/E ratio of 12.59 times earnings reported for the past 12 months. The industry LAZ operates in has an average P/E of 56.95. Its P/E ratio went as low as 5.7X and as high as 41.62 over the 5-year span.Further, it is sporting a 1.6 on the Price-to-Sales ratio. Compare this with the industry average P/S of 3.99. 93.4 percent is the gross profit margin for Lazard Ltd and operating margin sits at 23.6 percent. Along with this, the net profit margin is 18.3 percent.