Shares of Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) saw unusually-high trading volume on Friday . Approximately 907,188 shares traded hands during mid-day 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.

A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on ESND shares. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Essendant from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 19th. KeyCorp raised 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 firm has a 50-day moving average price of $30.62 and a 200 day moving average price of $30.39. The company’s market capitalization is $769.48 million.

Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last issued its earnings results on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.83 by $0.28. The business had revenue of $1.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.36 billion. Essendant’s quarterly revenue was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.82 EPS. On average, equities research analysts predict that Essendant Inc. will post $2.24 earnings per share for the current year.

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

In other 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 transaction, the chief operating officer now owns 43,207 shares in the company, valued at $1,366,205.34. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available through the SEC website.

Several institutional investors have modified their holdings of the company. Employees Retirement System of Texas acquired a new position in shares of Essendant during the fourth quarter worth approximately $2,048,000. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP raised its position in shares of Essendant by 13.5% in the fourth quarter. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP now owns 1,850,633 shares of the company’s stock worth $60,164,000 after buying an additional 219,790 shares during the period. Matarin Capital Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Essendant during the fourth quarter worth approximately $6,141,000. CNA Financial Corp raised its position in shares of 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 period. Finally, Bragg Financial Advisors Inc raised its position in shares of Essendant by 27.4% in the fourth quarter. Bragg Financial Advisors Inc now owns 58,556 shares of the company’s stock worth $1,904,000 after buying an additional 12,606 shares during the period.

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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