Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Exponent Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO) from a strong sell rating to a hold rating in a research report sent to investors on Tuesday morning.

According to Zacks, “Exponent, Inc., is a multidisciplinary organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and business consultants performing in-depth scientific research and analysis in over 90 technical disciplines. The company is an engineering and scientific consulting firm providing solutions to complex problems. The firm has been best known for analyzing accidents and failures to determine their causes, but in recent years it has become more active in assisting clients with human health, environmental and engineering issues associated with new products to help prevent problems in the future. The Company serves clients in the automotive, aviation, chemical, construction, consumer products, energy, government, health, insurance, manufacturing, technology and other sectors. “

EXPO has been the topic of several other reports. Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage on shares of Exponent in a report on Friday, August 26th. They issued a buy rating and a $57.00 price objective on the stock. Avondale Partners initiated coverage on shares of Exponent in a report on Thursday, July 7th. They issued a market perform rating and a $60.00 price objective on the stock.

Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) opened at 51.08 on Tuesday. The firm has a 50 day moving average of $50.46 and a 200-day moving average of $51.79. Exponent has a 52 week low of $43.58 and a 52 week high of $59.71. The company has a market capitalization of $1.33 billion, a P/E ratio of 29.19 and a beta of 0.81.

Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $0.38 EPS for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.05. Exponent had a net margin of 15.13% and a return on equity of 16.02%. The company earned $77.30 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $80.46 million. On average, analysts forecast that Exponent will post $1.59 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 23rd. Investors of record on Friday, September 2nd will be paid a $0.18 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 31st. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.41%. Exponent’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is presently 41.62%.

In other Exponent news, CEO Paul R. Johnston sold 5,500 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, June 27th. The shares were sold at an average price of $54.74, for a total transaction of $301,070.00. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now directly owns 75,536 shares in the company, valued at $4,134,840.64. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this link. Also, insider Paul Boehm sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $52.18, for a total transaction of $260,900.00. Following the sale, the insider now owns 24,045 shares in the company, valued at $1,254,668.10. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently made changes to their positions in EXPO. Mason Street Advisors LLC purchased a new stake in shares of Exponent during the second quarter worth about $296,000. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. increased its stake in shares of Exponent by 1.7% in the second quarter. Schwab Charles Investment Management Inc. now owns 90,038 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,260,000 after buying an additional 1,482 shares during the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc increased its stake in shares of Exponent by 54.7% in the second quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 5,658 shares of the company’s stock worth $323,000 after buying an additional 2,000 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System increased its stake in shares of Exponent by 3.1% in the second quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 13,496 shares of the company’s stock worth $788,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Teachers Retirement System of The State of Kentucky increased its stake in shares of Exponent by 3.5% in the second quarter. Teachers Retirement System of The State of Kentucky now owns 41,480 shares of the company’s stock worth $2,422,000 after buying an additional 1,400 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 91.46% of the company’s stock.

Exponent Company Profile

Exponent, Inc, along with its subsidiaries, is a science and engineering consulting company. The Company operates through two segments: Engineering and Other Scientific, and Environmental and Health. Its Engineering and Other Scientific segment includes biomechanics, biomedical engineering, buildings and structures, civil engineering, construction consulting, electrical engineering and computer science, engineering management consulting, human factors, industrial structures, materials and corrosion engineering, mechanical engineering, polymer science and materials chemistry, technology development, thermal sciences and vehicle analysis services.

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