Exponent Inc. (NASDAQ:EXPO) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Zacks, “Exponent, Inc., is a multidisciplinary organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and business consultants performing in-depth scientific research and analysis in over 90 technical disciplines. The company is an engineering and scientific consulting firm providing solutions to complex problems. The firm has been best known for analyzing accidents and failures to determine their causes, but in recent years it has become more active in assisting clients with human health, environmental and engineering issues associated with new products to help prevent problems in the future. The Company serves clients in the automotive, aviation, chemical, construction, consumer products, energy, government, health, insurance, manufacturing, technology and other sectors. “

Several other brokerages have also issued reports on EXPO. Avondale Partners initiated coverage on shares of Exponent in a report on Thursday, July 7th. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $60.00 price target on the stock. Cantor Fitzgerald initiated coverage on shares of Exponent in a report on Friday, August 26th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $57.00 target price on the stock.

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Shares of Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) traded up 0.30% during trading on Tuesday, hitting $49.80. 51,254 shares of the stock traded hands. The company has a 50 day moving average of $50.45 and a 200-day moving average of $51.80. The company has a market cap of $1.29 billion, a PE ratio of 28.46 and a beta of 0.81. Exponent has a 1-year low of $43.05 and a 1-year high of $59.71.

Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, July 19th. The company reported $0.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.43 by $0.05. The business earned $77.30 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $80.46 million. Exponent had a net margin of 15.13% and a return on equity of 16.02%. On average, equities analysts anticipate that Exponent will post $1.59 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, September 23rd. Stockholders of record on Friday, September 2nd will be issued a $0.18 dividend. This represents a $0.72 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.45%. The ex-dividend date is Wednesday, August 31st. Exponent’s payout ratio is 41.62%.

In related news, insider Paul Boehm sold 5,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, August 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $52.18, for a total transaction of $260,900.00. Following the transaction, the insider now owns 24,045 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,254,668.10. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CEO Paul R. Johnston sold 5,500 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, July 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $58.07, for a total transaction of $319,385.00. Following the transaction, the chief executive officer now owns 70,036 shares in the company, valued at approximately $4,066,990.52. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 3.50% of the stock is currently owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of EXPO. Vanguard Group Inc. increased its position in shares of Exponent by 3.9% in the second quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 2,004,471 shares of the company’s stock valued at $117,081,000 after buying an additional 75,731 shares during the period. BlackRock Fund Advisors increased its position in shares of Exponent by 2.4% in the second quarter. BlackRock Fund Advisors now owns 1,631,643 shares of the company’s stock valued at $95,304,000 after buying an additional 38,240 shares during the period. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of Exponent by 0.5% in the second quarter. Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management LLC now owns 1,472,728 shares of the company’s stock valued at $86,022,000 after buying an additional 7,610 shares during the period. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C increased its position in shares of Exponent by 4.4% in the second quarter. Atlanta Capital Management Co. L L C now owns 920,771 shares of the company’s stock valued at $53,782,000 after buying an additional 38,882 shares during the period. Finally, BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. increased its position in shares of Exponent by 0.6% in the first quarter. BlackRock Institutional Trust Company N.A. now owns 644,090 shares of the company’s stock valued at $32,855,000 after buying an additional 3,931 shares during the period. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 91.46% of the company’s stock.

About Exponent

Exponent, Inc, along with its subsidiaries, is a science and engineering consulting company. The Company operates through two segments: Engineering and Other Scientific, and Environmental and Health. Its Engineering and Other Scientific segment includes biomechanics, biomedical engineering, buildings and structures, civil engineering, construction consulting, electrical engineering and computer science, engineering management consulting, human factors, industrial structures, materials and corrosion engineering, mechanical engineering, polymer science and materials chemistry, technology development, thermal sciences and vehicle analysis services.

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