Scholastic (SCHL) Cut to “Hold” at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) from a strong-buy rating to a hold rating in a research report report published on Thursday.

According to Zacks, “Scholastic Corporation is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books and a leader in educational technology and children’s media. Scholastic creates quality educational and entertaining materials and products for use in school and at home, including children’s books, magazines, technology-based products, teacher materials, television programming, film, videos and toys. The Company distributes its products and services through a variety of channels, including proprietary school-based book clubs and school-based book fairs, retail stores, schools, libraries & television networks. The company distributes its products and services directly to schools and libraries through retail stores and the Internet. “

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Other research analysts have also issued research reports about the stock. BidaskClub raised shares of Scholastic from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research note on Sunday, February 11th. TheStreet raised shares of Scholastic from a c rating to a b- rating in a research note on Thursday, December 14th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price objective on shares of Scholastic from $38.00 to $41.00 and gave the company a hold rating in a research note on Wednesday, December 13th. Finally, Gabelli reissued a buy rating on shares of Scholastic in a research note on Friday, March 23rd. Three investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $41.00.

Shares of SCHL stock opened at $38.09 on Thursday. The stock has a market cap of $1,323.02, a price-to-earnings ratio of 20.81 and a beta of 0.76. Scholastic has a 1-year low of $33.51 and a 1-year high of $46.59.

Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, March 21st. The company reported ($0.30) earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of ($0.35) by $0.05. Scholastic had a negative net margin of 1.00% and a positive return on equity of 3.58%. The company had revenue of $344.70 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $350.10 million. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted ($0.36) earnings per share. Scholastic’s revenue was up 2.5% compared to the same quarter last year. equities analysts forecast that Scholastic will post 1.45 EPS for the current year.

Scholastic declared that its board has approved a stock buyback plan on Wednesday, March 21st that allows the company to repurchase $50.00 million in shares. This repurchase authorization allows the company to buy shares of its stock through open market purchases. Shares repurchase plans are usually an indication that the company’s board believes its stock is undervalued.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Friday, June 15th. Stockholders of record on Monday, April 30th will be paid a $0.15 dividend. This represents a $0.60 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.58%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, April 27th. Scholastic’s payout ratio is 32.79%.

In other news, EVP Judith Newman sold 2,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 16th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.36, for a total value of $98,400.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 17,269 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $679,707.84. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, EVP Andrews S. Hedden sold 2,000 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Thursday, March 29th. The shares were sold at an average price of $39.08, for a total transaction of $78,160.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 32,618 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,274,711.44. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last three months, insiders sold 56,214 shares of company stock valued at $2,167,239. Insiders own 22.30% of the company’s stock.

A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of SCHL. Sei Investments Co. raised its holdings in Scholastic by 32.0% in the third quarter. Sei Investments Co. now owns 8,661 shares of the company’s stock valued at $322,000 after acquiring an additional 2,102 shares in the last quarter. BlueCrest Capital Management Ltd acquired a new stake in Scholastic in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $333,000. Millennium Management LLC acquired a new stake in Scholastic in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $382,000. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan raised its holdings in Scholastic by 62.7% in the third quarter. Municipal Employees Retirement System of Michigan now owns 10,460 shares of the company’s stock valued at $389,000 after acquiring an additional 4,030 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Wealthstreet Investment Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in Scholastic in the fourth quarter valued at approximately $393,000. 83.47% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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Scholastic Company Profile

Scholastic Corporation, together with its subsidiaries, publishes and distributes children's books worldwide. It operates through three segments: Children's Book Publishing and Distribution, Education, and International. The Children's Book Publishing and Distribution segment engages in the publication and distribution of children's books, e-books, media, and interactive products through its school book clubs and book fairs, and trade channel.

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