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American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) was upgraded by Zacks from an “underperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note issued to investors on Friday. The firm currently has a $36.00 target price on the stock. Zacks‘s price objective indicates a potential upside of 5.66% from the stock’s previous close.

Zacks’ analyst wrote, “We are upgrading American Public to Neutral from Underperform owing to its better-than-expected performance in the first quarter of 2014. Apart from surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 25.5%, first-quarter earnings exceeded management’s expectation, given lower marketing expenses, cost savings and efficiencies. Revenue also exceeded the company’s expectations and the Zacks Consensus Estimate driven by sales from Hondros. However, earnings declined year over year due to military enrollment hurdles and higher costs. Enrollment trends in the quarter were adversely impacted by a decline in the number of students using TA benefits following recent administrative changes by the military. Margins also remained weak as costs increased in the quarter. Moreover, management expects military enrollment hurdles to continue in the second quarter of 2014 and therefore issued a disappointing outlook for the quarter.”

Shares of American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) traded up 0.07% on Friday, hitting $34.07. The stock had a trading volume of 167,335 shares. American Public Education has a 52-week low of $32.51 and a 52-week high of $46.69. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $35.2 and a 200-day moving average of $38.86. The company has a market cap of $595.4 million and a price-to-earnings ratio of 14.74.

American Public Education (NASDAQ:APEI) last announced its earnings results on Thursday, May 8th. The company reported $0.59 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.47 by $0.12. The company had revenue of $88.60 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $85.16 million. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $0.63 earnings per share. American Public Education’s revenue was up 5.7% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts predict that American Public Education will post $2.21 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

American Public Education, Inc is a provider of online postsecondary education with an emphasis on serving the needs of the military and public service communities.

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