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Capella Education Co. (CPLA) Rating Increased to Buy at Zacks Investment Research

Capella Education Co. (NASDAQ:CPLA) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday. The firm currently has a $65.00 target price on the stock. Zacks Investment Research’s price objective indicates a potential upside of 12.67% from the company’s previous close.

According to Zacks, “Capella Education reported impressive results in the first two quarters of 2016 with revenues, enrollment levels and earnings per share showing significant improvement. Total enrollment growth in the first two quarters of the year was driven by higher enrollment in FlexPath programs, improved early-cohort persistence and higher percentage of returning learners. Moreover, the company’s focus non-degree programs are encouraging and should top line in the long term. Capella expects the Hackbright Academy and DevMountain acquiistions to contribute to revenues in near term. However, revenues were hurt in the past two quarters by an unfavorable degree mix shift and change in accounting for revenue recognition. Moreover, an unfavorable shift in the student mix from PhD to the masters’ degree program is hurting revenue per student.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on CPLA. Barrington Research boosted their price objective on shares of Capella Education from $60.00 to $66.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a report on Wednesday, July 27th. Credit Suisse Group AG reaffirmed a “buy” rating on shares of Capella Education in a report on Thursday, September 1st. One research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company. Capella Education currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average price target of $59.80.

Shares of Capella Education (NASDAQ:CPLA) opened at 57.69 on Tuesday. The firm’s 50-day moving average is $59.27 and its 200-day moving average is $54.88. The company has a market capitalization of $667.07 million, a PE ratio of 17.89 and a beta of 1.10. Capella Education has a 12-month low of $39.06 and a 12-month high of $63.01.

Capella Education (NASDAQ:CPLA) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, July 26th. The company reported $0.82 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.87 by $0.05. The business earned $106.70 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $105.93 million. Capella Education had a net margin of 9.12% and a return on equity of 20.80%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 2.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $0.83 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Capella Education will post $3.49 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Investors of record on Friday, August 26th will be paid a $0.39 dividend. This represents a $1.56 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.70%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Wednesday, August 24th. Capella Education’s payout ratio is 48.30%.

In related news, Director Darrell R. Tukua sold 5,000 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, August 25th. The shares were sold at an average price of $61.23, for a total value of $306,150.00. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, CEO J Kevin Gilligan sold 16,892 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $59.23, for a total transaction of $1,000,513.16. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 69,705 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $4,128,627.15. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 6.50% of the stock is currently owned by corporate insiders.

A number of institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of CPLA. Glenmede Trust Co. NA increased its position in shares of Capella Education by 0.5% in the first quarter. Glenmede Trust Co. NA now owns 5,664 shares of the company’s stock valued at $296,000 after buying an additional 26 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC increased its position in shares of Capella Education by 0.9% in the second quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 5,380 shares of the company’s stock valued at $283,000 after buying an additional 46 shares during the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System increased its position in shares of Capella Education by 1.9% in the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 5,439 shares of the company’s stock valued at $286,000 after buying an additional 100 shares during the last quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans increased its position in shares of Capella Education by 5.3% in the second quarter. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans now owns 5,180 shares of the company’s stock valued at $273,000 after buying an additional 260 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Strs Ohio increased its position in shares of Capella Education by 2.9% in the second quarter. Strs Ohio now owns 14,400 shares of the company’s stock valued at $758,000 after buying an additional 400 shares during the last quarter. 90.37% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

Capella Education Company Profile

Capella Education Company is an online postsecondary education services company. The Company’s academic programs are delivered through its subsidiary, Capella University (the University), which is an online academic institution offering online postsecondary education services primarily to working adults.

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Source: Capella

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