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KBW downgrades Artisan Partners, sees 'muted' asset flows in near term

Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Robert Lee has downgraded Artisan Partners Asset Management Inc. to "market perform," saying that the company's latest earnings results were close to expectations and that asset flows "are likely to remain muted" in the near term.

The company's current valuation is fair, but there is now only "modest" potential for a higher total return against KBW's price target on the company, Lee wrote in a note to clients. Artisan Partners recorded net outflows for the 12th consecutive quarter in its second-quarter results, the analyst noted.

Lee lowered his EPS estimates for the company to $2.33 from $2.34 for 2017 and to $2.55 from $2.60 for 2019. He did not change his estimate for 2018, but did raise his price target for the shares to $33 from $32 to reflect slightly higher valuations for Artisan Partners' peer group of asset managers.