Essendant Inc. (ESND) Rating Increased to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

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Essendant Inc. (NASDAQ:ESND) was upgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “strong sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report issued on Wednesday.
According to Zacks, “Essendant Inc. is a leading supplier of workplace essentials, with 2015 net sales of $5.4 billion. The company stocks a broad assortment of over 180,000 items, including technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture, industrial supplies, and automotive aftermarket tools. “
Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) traded up 0.36% during midday trading on Wednesday, hitting $19.74. 182,292 shares of the company were exchanged. Essendant has a 1-year low of $18.56 and a 1-year high of $36.96. The stock has a 50 day moving average of $19.41 and a 200 day moving average of $27.61. The firm’s market capitalization is $736.24 million.

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Essendant (NASDAQ:ESND) last released its quarterly earnings data on Wednesday, July 20th. The company reported $0.55 earnings per share for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.83 by $0.28. Essendant had a negative net margin of 0.72% and a positive return on equity of 13.75%. The company had revenue of $1.35 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $1.36 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.82 earnings per share. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up .9% on a year-over-year basis. On average, equities analysts predict that Essendant will post $2.24 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, October 14th. Shareholders of record on Thursday, September 15th will be issued a dividend of $0.14 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, September 13th. This represents a $0.56 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 2.84%. Essendant’s dividend payout ratio is currently -52.34%.
In other Essendant news, COO Timothy P. Connolly sold 5,765 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, August 19th. The shares were sold at an average price of $19.24, for a total transaction of $110,918.60. Following the completion of the sale, the chief operating officer now directly owns 40,773 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $784,472.52. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Company insiders own 1.60% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in the stock. BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its stake in shares of Essendant by 1,424.3% in the second quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 265,001 shares of the company’s stock worth $8,098,000 after buying an additional 247,616 shares in the last quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP boosted its stake in shares of Essendant by 9.3% in the first quarter. Wellington Management Group LLP now owns 2,819,324 shares of the company’s stock worth $90,020,000 after buying an additional 240,669 shares in the last quarter. Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel LLC boosted its stake in shares of Essendant by 77.5% in the second quarter. Neumeier Poma Investment Counsel LLC now owns 499,090 shares of the company’s stock worth $15,252,000 after buying an additional 217,890 shares in the last quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. boosted its stake in shares of Essendant by 21.4% in the first quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. now owns 1,203,298 shares of the company’s stock worth $38,421,000 after buying an additional 211,932 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. boosted its stake in shares of Essendant by 14.1% in the second quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 1,291,786 shares of the company’s stock worth $39,477,000 after buying an additional 159,880 shares in the last quarter. 96.98% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
About Essendant
Essendant Inc (Essendant), formerly United Stationers Inc, is a wholesale distributor of workplace items. The Company stocks an assortment of over 180,000 products in categories, including janitorial and breakroom supplies, technology products, traditional office products, industrial supplies, office furniture, and automotive aftermarket tools and equipment.

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