Why Apollo Education Group, Inc. Shares Jumped

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 Apollo Education Group (NASDAQ: APOL  ) were looking smarter today, climbing as much as 19% before finishing up 14% on a strong quarterly earnings report.

So what: The parent company of the University of Phoenix posted adjusted earnings of $1.04 per share, beating estimates of $0.90, while revenue fell 19% to $856.3 million, short of estimates at $861.5 million, however, Wall Street overlooked the sales drop in favor of the better-than-expected profit numbers and strong outlook. CEO Greg Capelli said the company was making "good progress on our strategic plan to differentiate" the company, and management also said it expected revenue of $3.0 billion to $3.1 billion for the fiscal year on operating income of $400 million to $450 million, or approximately $2.50 in net income per share.

Now what: It's normal to see a stock bounce after a strong earnings beat, but Apollo's numbers are still moving in the wrong direction. Overall enrollment fell 17.7% to 263,000, while new student enrollment, seen as a key indicator in the industry, fell 22.9% to 41,700, meaning profits are still falling even if they're beating expectations. With a P/E of 15 and an average valuation, after today's gain, the company seems to need to stanch its enrollment decline for the stock to move higher.

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