Equities continued their apparently unstoppable climb on this week with the Dow and S&P 500 closing on record highs once again. One of the industries that quietly did pretty well was education and training services, with 17 out of 22 companies posting gains. Apollo Group Inc., one of the largest, jumped just over 9 percent to $20.50.
Indeed, throughout 2013, 14 out of the 22 companies in that industry listed on the Nasdaq, NYSE, and AMEX are up over 8 percent. Most of them are vocational training institutions that provide education in careers as various as nursing, culinary arts, business management as well as skilled trades.
In a job market that has been steadily improving, but at a snail’s pace, it is no surprise that there is a demand for career-oriented, post-high school education. Presumably, investment in vocational training in the short term can increase the likelihood of gainful and stable employment in the long-term.
The following 6 companies are small-cap or under, that have been selected for positive performance in 2013, as well as a positive earnings per share figure, and an annual earnings-per-share growth rate over the past five years that is greater than 10 percent, suggesting that the stock may offer an attractive play to the right investor.
DeVry Inc. (DV) – Founded in 1931, DeVry is perhaps one of the best known “career-oriented educational services” providers in the United States. The company has a market cap of $1.88 billion, with shares trading at $29.95, up 26.21 percent in 2013. Earnings-per-share, $2.28, has grown over the past five years at an annual rate of 14.40 percent.
Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (LOPE) – The Arizona-based private Christian University established in 1949 has a market cap of $1.38 billion, with shares up almost 30 percent in 2013 at $30.45. EPS of $1.67 has grown over the past five years at an impressive annual rate of 114.89 percent.
Bridgepoint Education Inc. (BPI) – With a market cap of $604.41 million, the San Diego, California-based Bridgeport runs several vocational/career training universities. In 2013, shares have advanced 8.45 percent to $11.17, and a $2.28 earnings per share figure has grown 48 percent annually over the past five years.
Capella Education Co. (CPLA) – Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Capella Education has been providing online post-secondary education since 1991, currently offering some 43 undergraduate and graduate degrees. The company’s market cap is $527.81 million, with shares up nearly 51 percent in 2013 at $42.60. Capella’s EPS is $2.72, from an annual growth rate over the past five years of 15.73 percent.
GP Strategies Corp. (GPX) – The Elkridge, Maryland company, according to its website, is “a global performance improvement company and a leader in sales and technical training, e-learning solutions, management consulting, and engineering services,” with a market cap of $429.30 million. Shares are currently trading at $22.50, up 9 percent in 2013, and EPS at $1.18 has grown at an annual rate of 15.85 percent for the past five years.
Franklin Covey Co. (FC) – The Salt Lake City, Utah company bills itself as a global leader in consulting and training services for businesses, and boasts numerous clients among the Fortune 500 companies. Franklin Covey has a market cap of $231.46 million, with shares currently trading at $14.20, a gain of 10 percent year-to-date. EPS, currently at $0.50, has grown over the past five years at an annual rate of 10.10 percent.
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