Lazard Ltd. Earnings: Two Straight Quarters of Profit Broken by a Loss

On top of dropping to a loss in the fourth quarter, Lazard Ltd. (NYSE:LAZ) also came in short of analyst estimates. Lazard, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a financial advisory and asset management firm worldwide. The company’s Financial Advisory segment offers a range of services regarding mergers and acquisitions and strategic advisory matters.

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Lazard Earnings Cheat Sheet for the Fourth Quarter

Results: Reported a loss of $5 million (4 cents per diluted share) in the quarter. The asset management company had net income of $100 million or 77 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: Lazard Ltd. reported adjusted net income of one cent per share. By that measure, the company fell short of mean estimate of 37 cents per share.

Quoting Management: “The financial markets were difficult in 2011, and Lazard had a challenging fourth quarter, yet our franchise is better positioned today than ever before, with significant operating leverage in both our businesses, as macroeconomic conditions improve,” said Kenneth M. Jacobs, Chairman and Chief Executive of Lazard. “We enter 2012 with a broad and deep platform, the best people, and an unrivaled network of relationships with corporations, governments and investing institutions around the world.”

Key Stats:

The company fell short of forecasts after beating estimates in the previous two quarters. In the third quarter, it topped the mark by 8 cents, and in the second quarter, it was ahead by 2 cents.

Looking Forward: Over the last 30 days, analysts have not been optimistic about the company’s next quarter performance. The average estimate for the first quarter of the next fiscal year is now 40 cents per share, down from 44 cents. At $1.68 per share, the average estimate for the fiscal year has fallen from $1.90 ninety days ago.

(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com