Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) shares saw unusually-high trading volume on Friday . Approximately 907,188 shares were traded during trading, an increase of 177% from the previous session’s volume of 327,008 shares.The stock last traded at $20.95 and had previously closed at $20.61.

ESND has been the subject of several recent research reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Essendant from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research note on Wednesday, March 30th. KeyCorp upgraded shares of Essendant from a “sector weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and set a $40.00 target price for the company in a research note on Friday, April 1st.

The stock’s market capitalization is $769.48 million. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $30.92 and a 200-day moving average of $30.47.

Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last released its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.28. The company had revenue of $1.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.36 billion. Essendant’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.82 earnings per share. Equities analysts predict that Essendant Inc. will post $2.64 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Thursday, September 15th will be paid a dividend of $0.14 per share. This represents a $0.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Tuesday, September 13th.

In related news, COO Timothy P. Connolly sold 5,000 shares of Essendant stock in a transaction on Thursday, April 28th. The shares were sold at an average price of $31.62, for a total transaction of $158,100.00. Following the sale, the chief operating officer now owns 43,207 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,366,205.34. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this link.

Several large investors recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Whittier Trust Co. increased its stake in Essendant by 1.1% in the fourth quarter. Whittier Trust Co. now owns 31,032 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,009,000 after buying an additional 325 shares during the last quarter. Shell Asset Management Co. bought a new stake in Essendant during the fourth quarter valued at $1,226,000. CNA Financial Corp increased its stake in Essendant by 39.1% in the fourth quarter. CNA Financial Corp now owns 42,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,394,000 after buying an additional 12,050 shares during the last quarter. GAM Holding AG increased its stake in Essendant by 18.2% in the fourth quarter. GAM Holding AG now owns 48,770 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,586,000 after buying an additional 7,520 shares during the last quarter. Finally, New York State Common Retirement Fund increased its stake 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 valued at $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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