Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of American Public Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:APEI) from a hold rating to a strong-buy rating in a report published on Thursday morning. Zacks Investment Research currently has $26.00 price target on the stock.

According to Zacks, “Shares of American Public has outperformed its industry in the last three months. The affordability of the American Public's courses and programs will benefit the company in the long run owing to high price sensitivity among students. The company has adopted several initiatives to boost its top line. It will continue to improve enrollment trends by strengthening its brand, adding new programs and expanding its strategic relationships. The company aims to strengthen its digital marketing campaigns to leverage relationship with military, public service and other high-value student populations.”

Separately, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $24.00 target price on shares of American Public Education in a research report on Wednesday, May 10th.

Shares of American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) traded down 1.13% during trading on Thursday, hitting $21.80. 8,126 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a 50-day moving average of $23.06 and a 200-day moving average of $22.94. The firm has a market cap of $353.88 million, a P/E ratio of 19.27 and a beta of 1.18. American Public Education has a 52 week low of $14.75 and a 52 week high of $30.78.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 9th. The company reported $0.28 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.28. American Public Education had a return on equity of 9.07% and a net margin of 6.01%. The firm had revenue of $75.70 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $75.24 million. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.64 earnings per share. The company’s revenue was down 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts forecast that American Public Education will post $1.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.

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A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the stock. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio increased its position in shares of American Public Education by 16.2% in the first quarter. Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio now owns 6,524 shares of the company’s stock worth $149,000 after buying an additional 910 shares during the period. OppenheimerFunds Inc. acquired a new position in shares of American Public Education during the first quarter worth about $258,000. Valley National Advisers Inc. increased its position in shares of American Public Education by 39.8% in the first quarter. Valley National Advisers Inc. now owns 11,604 shares of the company’s stock worth $266,000 after buying an additional 3,301 shares during the period. Texas Permanent School Fund increased its position in shares of American Public Education by 1.0% in the second quarter. Texas Permanent School Fund now owns 11,853 shares of the company’s stock worth $280,000 after buying an additional 119 shares during the period. Finally, Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. increased its position in shares of American Public Education by 5.9% in the first quarter. Los Angeles Capital Management & Equity Research Inc. now owns 16,255 shares of the company’s stock worth $372,000 after buying an additional 900 shares during the period. 93.41% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About American Public Education

American Public Education, Inc provides online and on-campus postsecondary education. The Company provides postsecondary education through its subsidiary institutions, American Public University System, Inc (APUS) and Hondros College of Nursing (HCON). It operates through two segments: American Public Education Segment, which consists of the operational activities of APUS, other corporate activities, and minority investments, and Hondros College of Nursing Segment, which consists of the operational activities of HCON.

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