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Capella Education (NASDAQ: CPLA) was upgraded by investment analysts at Barrington Research from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a note issued to investors on Wednesday, Analyst Ratings Network reports. The firm currently has a $53.00 target price on the stock. Barrington Research’s price target indicates a potential upside of 20.76% from the stock’s previous close.

The analysts wrote, “Enrollment trends positive: While others in the group are still reporting lower enrollments, CPLA appears to have found its footing by approaching the market differently (brand building rather than simply purchasing leads from aggregators) and focusing on learner outcomes. After seven quarters of negative new student starts, the company, which reached the inflection point in Q3/12, has reported three consecutive quarters of positive new student starts and has guided Q2/13 to be up at a similar rate to Q1 (+8.2%), the fourth quarter of growth against relatively easy comps. The trick in 2H/13 will be maintaining this growth against growing year‐ago quarters, as industry demand is no stronger and competition is no easier. In our opinion, CPLA has reversed the negative trends by creating its own demand (“pull”) for its programs by changing its marketing mix away from lead aggregators (“push”) and investing in brand building (getting into the decision process earlier).”

Capella Education (NASDAQ: CPLA) traded down 2.14% on Wednesday, hitting $43.89. Capella Education has a 52-week low of $25.81 and a 52-week high of $38.27. The stock’s 50-day moving average is currently $31.1. The company has a market cap of $543.9 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 17.05.

Capella Education (NASDAQ: CPLA) last released its earnings data on Tuesday, April 23rd. The company reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.62 by $0.08. The company had revenue of $109.40 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $104.00 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.82 earnings per share. Capella Education’s revenue was down 3.8% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that Capella Education will post $2.53 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

A number of other analysts have also recently weighed in on CPLA. Analysts at Thomson Reuters/Verus upgraded shares of Capella Education from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note to investors on Tuesday, May 28th. Separately, analysts at Stifel Nicolaus downgraded shares of Capella Education from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note to investors on Monday, May 20th. They now have a $40.00 price target on the stock. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Finally, analysts at William Blair upgraded shares of Capella Education from a “market perform” rating to an “outperform” rating in a research note to investors on Friday, May 17th.

Six analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $39.67.

Capella Education Company is an online postsecondary education services company. Through its wholly owned subsidiary, Capella University, the Company offers a variety of doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s programs.

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