American Public Education Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “strong-buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Thursday. The firm currently has a $21.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective points to a potential downside of 6.87% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “American Public Education posted better-than-expected third-quarter 2016 results, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for both earnings and sales by 12.9% and 1.2%, respectively. The company’s focus on improving student persistence has reduced bad debt expense and led to higher margins. However, decrease in enrollment of students is a matter of concern. That said, the company will continue to strive to improve enrollment trends by strengthening its brand, adding new programs and expanding its strategic relationships, in addition to the recent investment in new enrollment management leadership.”

Other equities analysts have also issued reports about the company. Piper Jaffray Cos. reaffirmed a “neutral” rating and issued a $24.00 price objective (down from $25.00) on shares of American Public Education in a research note on Wednesday, August 10th. TheStreet lowered American Public Education from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Thursday, August 11th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a “hold” rating on shares of American Public Education in a research note on Tuesday, November 8th.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) opened at 22.55 on Thursday. The stock’s 50 day moving average is $19.80 and its 200 day moving average is $24.00. The company has a market capitalization of $362.42 million, a PE ratio of 13.45 and a beta of 1.19. American Public Education has a 52 week low of $13.80 and a 52 week high of $30.78.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) last released its quarterly earnings results on Monday, November 7th. The company reported $0.35 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.31 by $0.04. The company had revenue of $73.80 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $73.39 million. American Public Education had a return on equity of 14.11% and a net margin of 8.44%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 3.3% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the previous year, the business posted $0.41 earnings per share. Analysts predict that American Public Education will post $1.86 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Several institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the company. Springbok Capital Management LLC raised its position in shares of American Public Education by 534.0% in the first quarter. Springbok Capital Management LLC now owns 5,573 shares of the company’s stock valued at $115,000 after buying an additional 4,694 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. raised its position in shares of American Public Education by 122.1% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 4,414 shares of the company’s stock valued at $124,000 after buying an additional 2,427 shares during the period. Acrospire Investment Management LLC raised its position in shares of American Public Education by 18.5% in the second quarter. Acrospire Investment Management LLC now owns 5,125 shares of the company’s stock valued at $144,000 after buying an additional 800 shares during the period. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its position in shares of American Public Education by 98.7% in the second quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 5,185 shares of the company’s stock valued at $146,000 after buying an additional 2,575 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Advisors LLC raised its position in shares of American Public Education by 14.0% in the third quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 8,774 shares of the company’s stock valued at $174,000 after buying an additional 1,078 shares during the period. 92.87% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

About American Public Education

American Public Education, Inc is a provider of online and on-campus postsecondary education. The Company’s segments include American Public Education Segment (APEI Segment), which consists of the operational activities of APUS, other corporate activities and minority investments, and Hondros College of Nursing Segment (HCON Segment), which consists of the operational activities of HCON.

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