Strayer Education (STRA) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $112.00 price target on the health services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price suggests a potential upside of 8.45% from the company’s current price.

According to Zacks, “Strayer Education’s first-quarter 2018 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and increased 29.5% year over year. Moreover, revenues improved 1.4% from the prior-year quarter’s figure, owing to higher winter term enrollment. Positive enrollment trend continued in the first quarter with new students and total enrollment up 6% each. Strayer’s convenient, accessible and flexible educational programs are designed to meet the educational needs of working adults. Strayer University is lowering the cost of its programs to enhance affordability. However, tuition cuts and an unfavorable mix of students toward lower undergraduate tuition have resulted in declining revenue per student over the past few quarters. Revenue per student declined approximately 5% in the first quarter of 2018. Importantly, Strayer and Capella decided to merge in an all-stock deal of equal transactions, expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.”

A number of other analysts also recently issued reports on STRA. BidaskClub downgraded Strayer Education from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 9th. BMO Capital Markets raised their target price on Strayer Education from $107.00 to $118.00 and gave the stock an “outperform” rating in a research note on Thursday, May 3rd. TheStreet downgraded Strayer Education from a “b” rating to a “c+” rating in a research note on Tuesday, March 13th. ValuEngine raised Strayer Education from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Thursday, March 1st. Finally, Piper Jaffray raised Strayer Education from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a research note on Monday, March 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $109.50.

Shares of STRA opened at $103.27 on Wednesday. Strayer Education has a 52-week low of $100.50 and a 52-week high of $101.92. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.13 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.21, a P/E/G ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.84.

Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, May 2nd. The health services provider reported $1.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.15 by $0.08. Strayer Education had a return on equity of 18.90% and a net margin of 4.27%. The business had revenue of $116.50 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $116.16 million. During the same period last year, the company earned $0.95 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.4% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts anticipate that Strayer Education will post 4.03 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Raymond Karl Mcdonnell sold 28,361 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $106.59, for a total transaction of $3,022,998.99. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 178,903 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $19,069,270.77. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, CAO Thomas J. Aprahamian sold 2,964 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.11, for a total value of $270,050.04. Following the sale, the chief accounting officer now directly owns 13,980 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $1,273,717.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 97,417 shares of company stock valued at $9,872,310 over the last three months. Corporate insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.

Several large investors have recently modified their holdings of STRA. Acadian Asset Management LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Strayer Education during the 4th quarter worth about $190,000. US Bancorp DE increased its position in shares of Strayer Education by 40.2% during the 4th quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 2,248 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $201,000 after purchasing an additional 645 shares during the last quarter. Poplar Forest Capital LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Strayer Education during the 1st quarter worth about $213,000. HBK Investments L P acquired a new stake in shares of Strayer Education during the 4th quarter worth about $278,000. Finally, Victory Capital Management Inc. increased its position in shares of Strayer Education by 26.6% during the 1st quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 3,011 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $304,000 after purchasing an additional 632 shares during the last quarter. 98.69% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Strayer Education Company Profile

Strayer Education, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of post-secondary education and other academic programs in the United States. The company operates Strayer University that provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, nursing, public administration, and criminal justice to working adult students through its 74 physical campuses primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions, as well as through online.

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