Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) has received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the six brokerages that are currently covering the stock, Marketbeat Ratings reports. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have issued a hold rating and one has assigned a buy rating to the company. The average 1 year target price among analysts that have issued ratings on the stock in the last year is $16.50.

ESND has been the topic of a number of recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Essendant from a “strong-buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Tuesday, June 27th. BidaskClub lowered shares of Essendant from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, July 12th. TheStreet lowered shares of Essendant from a “c-” rating to a “d+” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, ValuEngine raised shares of Essendant from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report on Friday.

A number of institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ESND. Teachers Advisors LLC raised its position in Essendant by 41.8% in the fourth quarter. Teachers Advisors LLC now owns 86,455 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,807,000 after buying an additional 25,501 shares in the last quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System raised its position in Essendant by 2.7% in the first quarter. Louisiana State Employees Retirement System now owns 15,300 shares of the company’s stock valued at $232,000 after buying an additional 400 shares in the last quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its position in Essendant by 1.1% in the first quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 83,686 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,268,000 after buying an additional 933 shares in the last quarter. First Quadrant L P CA purchased a new position in Essendant during the first quarter valued at approximately $243,000. Finally, Strs Ohio raised its position in Essendant by 246.0% in the first quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 48,100 shares of the company’s stock valued at $728,000 after buying an additional 34,200 shares in the last quarter. 94.16% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Essendant (ESND) traded up 1.01% on Friday, hitting $11.98. 184,785 shares of the stock traded hands. The firm’s 50 day moving average is $12.42 and its 200 day moving average is $15.04. Essendant has a 52 week low of $11.26 and a 52 week high of $22.52. The stock’s market cap is $449.60 million.

Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.37 by $0.09. The company had revenue of $1.26 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.31 billion. Essendant had a positive return on equity of 5.75% and a negative net margin of 2.87%. The business’s quarterly revenue was down 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $0.55 EPS. Equities analysts anticipate that Essendant will post $1.09 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 13th. Investors of record on Friday, September 15th will be given a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 4.67%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, September 14th. Essendant’s dividend payout ratio is -13.73%.

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About Essendant

Essendant Inc (Essendant) is a wholesale distributor of workplace items. The Company’s product portfolio includes Janitorial, Foodservice and Breakroom Supplies (JanSan), Technology Products, Traditional Office Products, Industrial Supplies, Cut Sheet Paper Products, Automotive Products and Office Furniture.

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