May 22, 2017 / 2:22 PM / 3 months ago

BUZZ-Blackstone's stock jumps as Saudi Arabia seeds new infrastructure fund

** Blackstone Group shares jump >7 pct, hit 1 1/2 year high after Saudi Arabia agrees to anchor the private equity giant's new infrastructure fund

** Country's Public Investment Fund (PIF) pledges $20 bln to invest mainly in U.S. public works projects

** Blackstone said it expects vehicle will reach $40 bln with equity commitments from other investors, and have spending power of up to $100 bln, including debt financing

** The Blackstone-PIF fund eclipses last year's biggest infrastructure fund by Brookfield Asset Management, which raised $14 bln, according to Preqin; may benefit from an open-ended investment horizon

** Citigroup raises its rating on Blackstone to "buy" from "neutral"; Credit Suisse raises its price target to $45 from $42

** Research sentiment firmly in bull camp. 11 of 14 analysts recommend buying the stock, including 5 "strong buy", rest "hold"; median PT $35

** BX shares recently up 5.2 pct at $31.43, extending YTD gain to 16.2 pct

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