NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Grand Canyon Education Inc. (LOPE - Get Report) was upgraded to "outperform" from "neutral" at Robert Baird on Wednesday.

The company is provider of post-secondary education services, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in healthcare, education, business and the liberal arts. Students can take online courses as well as on site classes at the school's Phoenix, AZ location.

The firm said it raised its rating on Grand Canyon Education based on its belief the stock has pulled back to an attractive level.

Robert Baird maintained its $47 price target on Grand Canyon Education stock.

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC as a Buy with a ratings score of A-. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC (LOPE) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, impressive record of earnings per share growth, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had lackluster performance in the stock itself."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • LOPE's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 12.1%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • LOPE's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.22 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with the favorable debt-to-equity ratio, the company maintains an adequate quick ratio of 1.33, which illustrates the ability to avoid short-term cash problems.
  • GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC has improved earnings per share by 16.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC increased its bottom line by earning $1.93 versus $1.54 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($2.23 versus $1.93).
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 190.26% to $35.77 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC has also vastly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of -4.41%.
  • The gross profit margin for GRAND CANYON EDUCATION INC is rather high; currently it is at 61.68%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Despite the strong results of the gross profit margin, LOPE's net profit margin of 14.54% significantly trails the industry average.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: LOPE Ratings Report

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