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Why American Public Education Shares Fell

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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 American Public Education (NASDAQ: APEI  ) were getting dismissed today, falling as much as 10% after reporting fourth-quarter earnings.

So what: Compared to its competitors lately, the for-profit educator seemed to have a decent report. Overall enrollment was up 10%, and new student enrollment increased 8%. Revenues increased 14%, to $86 million, and earnings per share moved up slightly, from $0.71, to $0.74, which beat estimates of $0.67. However, America Public Education's outlook disappointed the market, as it expected enrollment to drop between 5% and 7% in the current quarter, with earnings per share of $0.55-$0.58. Analysts were expecting earnings of $0.60 a share.

Now what: Expectations just continue to go down in this industry, as the Obama Administration has tightened oversight over the for-profit sector. The shift to a decline in enrollment is concerning, but American Public Education is faring at least as well as most of its peers. Revenue and profits are still expected to grow, so the downside here seems limited.

Get more on American Public Education. Add the company to your Watchlist here.

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