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Buckingham Research: Lazard 'materially less leveraged' to tax reform

Buckingham Research's James Mitchell downgraded Lazard Ltd.'s stock rating, as part of a broader look into the effects of pending tax reform.

Mitchell wrote in a Dec. 20 report that Lazard is "materially less leveraged" to corporate tax reform. He calculated a median 10% increase to 2018 EPS estimates across covered stocks due to the lower tax rate. Lazard's limited partnership structure, however, could bring it just 2%.

In addition, the analyst noted that the tailwind the company has so far received from international equity markets may weaken. Historical data also seems to point to more upside in U.S. advisory fees than in Europe, to Lazard's disadvantage.

Lazard received a downgrade to "neutral" from "buy," with a $59 price target.