Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) saw an uptick in trading volume on Friday . 250,665 shares changed hands during trading, an increase of 65% from the previous session’s volume of 152,111 shares.The stock last traded at $30.82 and had previously closed at $30.29.

A number of brokerages recently issued reports on ESND. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Essendant from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, April 25th. KeyCorp raised shares of Essendant from a “sector weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $40.00 price target for the company in a research report on Friday, April 1st.

The firm’s 50 day moving average price is $30.84 and its 200-day moving average price is $30.55. The stock’s market capitalization is $1.15 billion.

Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, April 20th. The company reported $0.45 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.46 by $0.01. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.46 EPS. The business had revenue of $1.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $1.31 billion. The firm’s revenue was up 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. Equities research analysts predict that Essendant Inc. will post $3.29 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, July 15th. Shareholders of record on Wednesday, June 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 1.82%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, June 13th.

In other news, SVP Eric A. Blanchard sold 4,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, April 15th. The shares were sold at an average price of $34.51, for a total value of $138,040.00. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 44,426 shares in the company, valued at $1,533,141.26. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, COO Timothy P. Connolly sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, April 28th. The stock was sold at an average price of $31.62, for a total transaction of $158,100.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 43,207 shares in the company, valued at $1,366,205.34. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Several hedge funds and institutional investors recently bought and sold shares of ESND. Whittier Trust Co. boosted its position in Essendant by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 31,032 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,009,000 after buying an additional 325 shares during the last quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. bought a new position in Essendant during the fourth quarter worth approximately $1,226,000. CNA Financial Corp boosted its position in Essendant by 39.1% in the fourth quarter. CNA Financial Corp now owns 42,900 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,394,000 after buying an additional 12,050 shares during the last quarter. GAM Holding AG boosted its position in Essendant by 18.2% in the fourth quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 48,770 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,586,000 after buying an additional 7,520 shares during the last quarter. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund boosted its position in Essendant by 0.5% in the fourth quarter. New York State Common Retirement Fund now owns 54,018 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,756,000 after buying an additional 264 shares during the last quarter.

Essendant Inc, formerly United Stationers Inc, is a wholesale distributor of workplace essentials. The Company stocks an assortment of over 160,000 products in categories, including technology products, traditional office products, office furniture, janitorial and breakroom supplies, industrial supplies, and automotive aftermarket tools and equipment.

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