American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) Stock Rating Lowered by Zacks Investment Research

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “buy” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note issued on Tuesday, Zacks.com reports. They currently have a $34.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s price objective suggests a potential upside of 8.97% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Public have outperformed the industry over the past six months. The company has been benefiting from increased demand for online courses and nursing programs. To this end the company has launched competency-based programs under an initiative called APUS Momentum. Notably, the company remains on track to complete its migration to a new Learning Management System by January 2021. Also, initiatives like affordable tuitions, online programs, strategic efforts aimed at improving student success and strong digital marketing campaigns are likely to benefit the company going forward. However, the COVID-19 pandemic may cause a disruption of educational services and increase costs for HCN to deliver courses online. Earnings estimates for 2021 have decreased over the past 30 days, depicting analysts' concern for the company's prospect.”

A number of other equities analysts have also weighed in on APEI. Sidoti raised American Public Education from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $39.00 target price for the company in a research report on Monday, November 2nd. B. Riley initiated coverage on American Public Education in a research report on Friday, December 18th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $45.00 target price for the company. Finally, Barrington Research boosted their target price on American Public Education from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, November 10th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, one has issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the stock. American Public Education currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $39.20.

APEI opened at $31.20 on Tuesday. The stock has a 50-day moving average price of $31.90 and a 200-day moving average price of $30.61. The firm has a market cap of $462.04 million, a PE ratio of 26.90, a P/E/G ratio of 1.50 and a beta of 0.79. American Public Education has a 1 year low of $18.47 and a 1 year high of $41.09.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Saturday, November 14th. The company reported $0.18 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.15 by $0.03. The firm had revenue of $79.13 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $76.00 million. American Public Education had a return on equity of 5.95% and a net margin of 5.63%. As a group, equities analysts anticipate that American Public Education will post 1.17 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, Director Jean C. Halle sold 1,759 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $30.95, for a total transaction of $54,441.05. Following the sale, the director now directly owns 14,640 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $453,108. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 2,709 shares of company stock worth $83,790. 3.73% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired a new position in shares of American Public Education in the 2nd quarter worth approximately $25,000. Marshall Wace LLP acquired a new stake in American Public Education during the 1st quarter valued at $56,000. Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in American Public Education by 557.6% during the 2nd quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 2,124 shares of the company’s stock valued at $62,000 after purchasing an additional 1,801 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. raised its stake in American Public Education by 45.1% during the 3rd quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 2,676 shares of the company’s stock valued at $75,000 after purchasing an additional 832 shares during the period. Finally, BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA raised its stake in American Public Education by 226.9% during the 3rd quarter. BNP Paribas Arbitrage SA now owns 3,841 shares of the company’s stock valued at $108,000 after purchasing an additional 2,666 shares during the period. 91.71% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About American Public Education

American Public Education, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, provides online and campus-based postsecondary education. The company operates in two segments, American Public Education and Hondros College of Nursing. It offers 121 degree programs and 111 certificate programs in various fields of study, including business administration, health science, technology, criminal justice, education, and liberal arts, as well as national security, military studies, intelligence, and homeland security.

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