Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a report released on Friday morning.

According to Zacks, “American Public Education’s earnings performance has been robust in the past few months, courtesy of affordable tuitions, online programs and strategic initiatives aimed at improving student success. Shares of American Public Education have outperformed the industry in a year’s time. This uptrend is likely to continue in the near future. However, volatility in enrollment and stringent regulations may hurt the growth prospects of the company. Also, it expects lower net course registrations at APUS in the fourth quarter due to recent softness in registrations owing to students utilizing TA, as well as increased competition for quality civilian students, which are likely to negatively impact both the top and bottom lines. Earnings estimates have also moved south for the current year over the past 30 days, depicting analysts’ concern surrounding the stock.”

Other equities research analysts also recently issued reports about the stock. ValuEngine downgraded shares of American Public Education from a strong-buy rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, August 9th. Sidoti raised shares of American Public Education from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a report on Thursday, August 9th. Barrington Research reissued a buy rating and issued a $40.00 price target on shares of American Public Education in a report on Monday, October 22nd. BidaskClub upgraded shares of American Public Education from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report on Friday, November 2nd. Finally, TheStreet cut shares of American Public Education from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 7th. Three analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $42.25.

Shares of American Public Education stock traded down $0.50 on Friday, reaching $29.01. The stock had a trading volume of 102,049 shares, compared to its average volume of 104,265. American Public Education has a 1 year low of $23.15 and a 1 year high of $46.15. The company has a market cap of $484.68 million, a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.49, a PEG ratio of 1.24 and a beta of 0.48.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, November 6th. The company reported $0.33 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.31 by $0.02. American Public Education had a net margin of 8.35% and a return on equity of 8.77%. The firm had revenue of $72.99 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $72.24 million. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $0.27 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was down .4% on a year-over-year basis. As a group, equities research analysts expect that American Public Education will post 1.59 EPS for the current year.

In other news, insider Wallace E. Jr. Boston sold 12,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $36.00, for a total transaction of $432,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the insider now owns 367,001 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $13,212,036. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through the SEC website. In the last three months, insiders have sold 12,550 shares of company stock valued at $449,319. Insiders own 3.19% of the company’s stock.

A number of hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in APEI. AQR Capital Management LLC lifted its stake in American Public Education by 65.0% in the third quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 642,454 shares of the company’s stock worth $21,233,000 after acquiring an additional 253,121 shares during the period. Renaissance Technologies LLC lifted its stake in American Public Education by 19.5% in the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 1,383,100 shares of the company’s stock worth $58,229,000 after acquiring an additional 225,800 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in American Public Education by 7.1% in the second quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 2,247,399 shares of the company’s stock worth $94,614,000 after acquiring an additional 149,612 shares during the period. Millennium Management LLC lifted its stake in American Public Education by 193.0% in the second quarter. Millennium Management LLC now owns 141,163 shares of the company’s stock worth $5,943,000 after acquiring an additional 92,983 shares during the period. Finally, Citadel Advisors LLC lifted its stake in American Public Education by 464.4% in the second quarter. Citadel Advisors LLC now owns 99,521 shares of the company’s stock worth $4,190,000 after acquiring an additional 81,889 shares during the period. 93.76% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About American Public Education

American Public Education, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, provides online and campus-based postsecondary education. The company operates through two segments, American Public Education and Hondros College of Nursing. It offers 108 degree programs and 109 certificate programs in various fields of study, including business administration, health science, technology, criminal justice, education, and liberal arts, as well as national security, military studies, intelligence, and homeland security.

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