SLM (SLM) Upgraded to Hold at Zacks Investment Research

Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of SLM (NASDAQ:SLM) from a sell rating to a hold rating in a research report released on Wednesday.

According to Zacks, “Shares of Sallie Mae have underperformed the industry over the past six months. Also, the company doesn’t have an impressive earnings surprise history. It surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in one of the trailing four quarters. A competitive business environment and consistently increasing expenses remain near-term concerns. Further, Sallie Mae faces concentration risks due to over dependence on brokered deposits. However, the company’s focus on strengthening its Private Education Loan assets and revenues along with maintaining a strong capital position bode well for the long term. Also, the economic recovery and declining unemployment rate should help it maintain a leading position in the student lending market. Nevertheless, stretched valuation indicates limited upside potential in the stock.”

A number of other research firms also recently issued reports on SLM. BidaskClub upgraded shares of SLM from a strong sell rating to a sell rating in a research report on Thursday, September 28th. FBR & Co set a $13.00 price target on shares of SLM and gave the company a buy rating in a research report on Thursday, October 19th. Citigroup assumed coverage on shares of SLM in a research report on Monday, October 16th. They set a buy rating and a $16.00 price target for the company. BMO Capital Markets reiterated a hold rating and set a $12.00 price target on shares of SLM in a research report on Friday, October 6th. Finally, Wedbush reiterated an outperform rating and set a $14.50 price target on shares of SLM in a research report on Thursday, September 14th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, two have given a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $13.44.

Shares of SLM (SLM) traded up $0.15 on Wednesday, reaching $11.18. The company’s stock had a trading volume of 2,443,000 shares, compared to its average volume of 3,173,609. SLM has a 12 month low of $9.65 and a 12 month high of $13.20. The stock has a market cap of $4,763.74, a price-to-earnings ratio of 15.99 and a beta of 1.33. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.35, a current ratio of 1.33 and a quick ratio of 1.33.

SLM (NASDAQ:SLM) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, October 18th. The credit services provider reported $0.17 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, meeting the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.17. SLM had a net margin of 22.95% and a return on equity of 16.63%. The company had revenue of $282.06 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $282.02 million. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.12 EPS. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 26.3% on a year-over-year basis. equities analysts predict that SLM will post 0.72 EPS for the current fiscal year.

In related news, CEO Raymond J. Quinlan sold 200,000 shares of SLM stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.52, for a total transaction of $2,304,000.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief executive officer now directly owns 1,080,133 shares in the company, valued at approximately $12,443,132.16. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website. Also, SVP Jonathan Boyles sold 2,776 shares of SLM stock in a transaction that occurred on Monday, December 4th. The stock was sold at an average price of $11.65, for a total value of $32,340.40. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 173,728 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $2,023,931.20. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 0.59% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. Steward Partners Investment Advisory LLC purchased a new stake in SLM in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $115,000. Crossmark Global Holdings Inc. purchased a new stake in SLM in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $666,000. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board purchased a new stake in SLM in the 3rd quarter worth approximately $1,248,000. SG Americas Securities LLC grew its stake in SLM by 7.9% in the 2nd quarter. SG Americas Securities LLC now owns 135,569 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $1,559,000 after acquiring an additional 9,887 shares during the period. Finally, Dorsey Wright & Associates grew its stake in SLM by 1.2% in the 2nd quarter. Dorsey Wright & Associates now owns 185,539 shares of the credit services provider’s stock worth $2,134,000 after acquiring an additional 2,245 shares during the period. 99.24% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

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About SLM

SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) is the nation’s saving, planning, and paying for college company. Sallie Mae offers products, which promote personal finance including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, insurance, and online retail banking.

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