Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm presently has a $112.00 price objective on the health services provider’s stock. Zacks Investment Research‘s target price would suggest a potential upside of 8.45% from the stock’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Strayer Education’s first-quarter 2018 earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and increased 29.5% year over year. Moreover, revenues improved 1.4% from the prior-year quarter’s figure, owing to higher winter term enrollment. Positive enrollment trend continued in the first quarter with new students and total enrollment up 6% each. Strayer’s convenient, accessible and flexible educational programs are designed to meet the educational needs of working adults. Strayer University is lowering the cost of its programs to enhance affordability. However, tuition cuts and an unfavorable mix of students toward lower undergraduate tuition have resulted in declining revenue per student over the past few quarters. Revenue per student declined approximately 5% in the first quarter of 2018. Importantly, Strayer and Capella decided to merge in an all-stock deal of equal transactions, expected to close in the third quarter of 2018.”

STRA has been the topic of several other research reports. BMO Capital Markets restated a “buy” rating and set a $107.00 price objective on shares of Strayer Education in a report on Wednesday, April 11th. BidaskClub upgraded shares of Strayer Education from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, March 15th. First Analysis upgraded shares of Strayer Education from an “equal weight” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their price objective for the company from $105.00 to $112.00 in a report on Sunday, March 4th. ValuEngine upgraded shares of Strayer Education from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a report on Thursday, March 1st. Finally, Piper Jaffray upgraded shares of Strayer Education from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating in a report on Monday, March 5th. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. Strayer Education currently has an average rating of “Buy” and a consensus target price of $109.50.

Strayer Education opened at $103.27 on Wednesday, according to MarketBeat.com. Strayer Education has a 52-week low of $100.50 and a 52-week high of $101.92. The stock has a market cap of $1.13 billion, a PE ratio of 33.21, a P/E/G ratio of 2.49 and a beta of 0.84.

Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, May 2nd. The health services provider reported $1.23 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.15 by $0.08. Strayer Education had a net margin of 4.27% and a return on equity of 18.90%. The firm had revenue of $116.50 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $116.16 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.95 earnings per share. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 1.4% compared to the same quarter last year. sell-side analysts forecast that Strayer Education will post 4.03 EPS for the current year.

In related news, insider Brian W. Jones sold 8,743 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The shares were sold at an average price of $91.24, for a total value of $797,711.32. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 40,325 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,679,253. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available through this link. Also, CAO Thomas J. Aprahamian sold 2,964 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, March 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $91.11, for a total transaction of $270,050.04. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief accounting officer now owns 13,980 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,273,717.80. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 97,417 shares of company stock worth $9,872,310. 6.70% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of STRA. Wells Fargo & Company MN boosted its position in Strayer Education by 38.5% in the 3rd quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 13,354 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $1,165,000 after purchasing an additional 3,715 shares in the last quarter. Acadian Asset Management LLC purchased a new stake in Strayer Education in the 4th quarter worth approximately $190,000. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC boosted its position in Strayer Education by 29.5% in the 4th quarter. Rice Hall James & Associates LLC now owns 167,728 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $15,025,000 after purchasing an additional 38,216 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE boosted its position in Strayer Education by 40.2% in the 4th quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 2,248 shares of the health services provider’s stock worth $201,000 after purchasing an additional 645 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Teacher Retirement System of Texas purchased a new stake in Strayer Education in the 4th quarter worth approximately $324,000. Institutional investors own 98.69% of the company’s stock.

About Strayer Education

Strayer Education, Inc, through its subsidiaries, provides a range of post-secondary education and other academic programs in the United States. The company operates Strayer University that provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, nursing, public administration, and criminal justice to working adult students through its 74 physical campuses primarily located in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern regions, as well as through online.

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