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SLM (NYSE: SLM)‘s stock had its “hold” rating reaffirmed by Zacks in a research note issued on Monday, Analyst Ratings.Net reports. They currently have a $20.50 price target on the stock.

Zacks‘ analyst wrote, “Sallie Mae’s fourth-quarter 2012 core earnings per share marginally beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Higher debt repurchase gains were mainly responsible for the company’s better-than-expected results. However, decreased net interest income, elevated operating expenses and higher loan loss provision were headwinds. Further, suspension of the new federal student loan origination to comply with the legislation will continue to impact revenue generation capabilities of the company. Despite challenges, we believe that its leading position in the student lending market, diversifying efforts, cost containment measures and increasing private student loan originations will help the company to navigate well through the current cycle. Moreover, the company’s capital deploying efforts are impressive and we believe that it will succeed in managing the regulatory issues. Hence, we are Neutral on the stock.”

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Barclays Capital raised their price target on shares of SLM from $19.00 to $22.00 in a research note to investors on Monday, April 8th. They now have an “overweight” rating on the stock. Separately, analysts at Credit Suisse reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of SLM in a research note to investors on Friday, March 22nd. They now have a $24.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $22.00. Finally, analysts at Janney Montgomery Scott downgraded shares of SLM from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note to investors on Wednesday, March 6th. They now have a $21.00 price target on the stock, up previously from $20.00.

Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and four have assigned a buy rating to the company. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $22.42.

Shares of SLM (NYSE: SLM) traded down 0.33% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $20.85. SLM has a one year low of $12.85 and a one year high of $21.02. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $19.77. The company has a market cap of $9.452 billion and a P/E ratio of 11.00.

SLM (NYSE: SLM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, January 16th. The company reported $0.55 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.53 by $0.02. The company had revenue of $792.00 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $711.00 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $0.51 earnings per share. Analysts expect that SLM will post $2.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which is scheduled for Friday, June 21st. Stockholders of record on Friday, June 7th will be paid a dividend of $0.15 per share. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.87%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, June 5th.

SLM Corporation, known as Sallie Mae, is engaged in the business of originating, servicing and collecting student loans and/or their parents to finance the cost of their education.

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