Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Noah Holdings (NYSE: NOAH ) , an asset management firm catering to upper-income earners in China, soared as much as 17% following the release of its fourth-quarter earnings report.
So what: For the quarter, Noah announced a whopping 73.7% increase in net revenue to $25.1 million from the year-ago period as non-GAAP income rose 77.8% to $0.14. These gains were driven by a 48.5% jump in registered clients and a 75% increase in active clients. The one downside to report was that the average transaction per client fell 16% year over year, but this had more to do with more of its clients purchasing mutual funds and fixed income securities, which have lower minimum investment requirements. Noah's forecasted 2013 guidance calls for $33 million to $37 million in income, or about $0.60-$0.67 in EPS.
Now what: We know China is a rapidly growing market for higher net-worth individuals, and Noah Holdings' earnings report showed us just that. As a small-cap company it doesn't have much, if any, analyst coverage, so today's results are about as pure a reaction as you'll ever get. Noah's recurring service fees are the driving force that stabilizes cash flow, but we should also keep an eye on that slumping average transaction per client as well because it could ultimately limit Noah's margins.
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