Why ARAMARK Holdings Corporation Shares Popped

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 ARAMARK Holdings Corporation (NYSE: ARMK  ) were looking fresher today, gaining as much 18% on its first earnings report as a publicly traded company.

So what: The institutional hospitality company said sales improved 7% to $3.8 billion ahead of estimates at $3.7 billion, while adjusted earnings improved to $0.52 per share on an 18% improvement in operating income, topping expectations of $0.43 a share. Management said some of the improvement came from lapping the quarter a year ago that was affected by Hurricane Sandy and the NHL lockout. CEO Eric Foss said that the company's positive momentum has continued as the company keeps winning new business and achieving high client-retention rates.

Now what: Today's jump seemed to come mostly from low expectations. In its full-year outlook, Aramark said it expected revenue growth of just 3% to 5%, so even this quarter's modest growth is expected to slow. The company also sees earnings per of share at $1.30 to $1.40, with the range of estimates at $1.31, which would give it a P/E near 20. Given those modest growth prospects and stable business, I wouldn't expect too many more days like this for Aramark shareholders. 

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