Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) Upgraded to “Buy” by Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning, Zacks.com reports. Zacks Investment Research currently has $72.00 price target on the business services provider’s stock.

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. “

Other analysts also recently issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub downgraded shares of Exponent from a hold rating to a sell rating in a report on Thursday, October 24th. DA Davidson started coverage on shares of Exponent in a report on Wednesday, August 28th. They set a neutral rating on the stock. SunTrust Banks upped their price objective on shares of Exponent from $70.00 to $81.00 and gave the stock a buy rating in a research report on Friday, September 20th. William Blair reaffirmed a market perform rating on shares of Exponent in a research report on Friday, October 18th. Finally, ValuEngine lowered shares of Exponent from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 2nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, four have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the company. Exponent currently has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $74.50.

Exponent stock traded up $0.61 during trading on Thursday, hitting $65.55. 220,883 shares of the company were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 227,952. The business’s 50 day moving average is $63.89 and its 200 day moving average is $64.62. Exponent has a 52 week low of $46.00 and a 52 week high of $72.70. The company has a market capitalization of $3.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 52.44 and a beta of 0.38. The company has a current ratio of 3.48, a quick ratio of 3.48 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.05.

Exponent (NASDAQ:EXPO) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Thursday, October 17th. The business services provider reported $0.36 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.34 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $101.50 million for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $100.17 million. Exponent had a return on equity of 23.62% and a net margin of 19.88%. The business’s revenue was up 6.5% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the business earned $0.32 EPS. Equities analysts expect that Exponent will post 1.5 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, December 20th. Stockholders of record on Friday, December 6th will be given a dividend of $0.16 per share. This represents a $0.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.98%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Thursday, December 5th. Exponent’s dividend payout ratio is presently 51.20%.

In other Exponent news, Director Paul R. Johnston sold 4,000 shares of Exponent stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, October 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $64.36, for a total value of $257,440.00. Following the sale, the director now owns 92,507 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $5,953,750.52. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP Harri Kytomaa sold 1,800 shares of Exponent stock in a transaction dated Friday, November 22nd. The stock was sold at an average price of $61.56, for a total transaction of $110,808.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 7,599 shares in the company, valued at approximately $467,794.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last ninety days, insiders have sold 67,800 shares of company stock valued at $4,301,198. Insiders own 2.30% of the company’s stock.

Several hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Nuveen Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in Exponent in the second quarter valued at approximately $34,946,000. Morgan Stanley lifted its position in shares of Exponent by 82.4% during the 2nd quarter. Morgan Stanley now owns 359,112 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $21,023,000 after buying an additional 162,208 shares during the last quarter. Conestoga Capital Advisors LLC lifted its position in shares of Exponent by 4.4% during the 2nd quarter. Conestoga Capital Advisors LLC now owns 2,422,012 shares of the business services provider’s stock valued at $141,785,000 after buying an additional 102,845 shares during the last quarter. Nicholas Company Inc. bought a new position in shares of Exponent during the 2nd quarter worth $5,204,000. Finally, D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. grew its stake in shares of Exponent by 228.2% during the 2nd quarter. D. E. Shaw & Co. Inc. now owns 83,622 shares of the business services provider’s stock worth $4,896,000 after acquiring an additional 58,140 shares during the period. Institutional investors own 88.72% of the company’s stock.

About Exponent

Exponent, Inc, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a science and engineering consulting company worldwide. Its services include analysis of product development, product recall, regulatory compliance, and the discovery of potential problems related to products, people, property, and impending litigation.

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