Why Shutterstock Inc Shares Shot Up

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 Shutterstock Inc  (NYSE: SSTK  ) were looking glossier today, finishing up 19% after a standout fourth-quarter earnings report.

So what: The digital-imagery vendor said adjusted earnings per share improved from $0.19 to $0.26, better than estimates at $0.21, as revenue increased 38%, to $68 million, topping expectations of $65.8 million. CEO Jon Oringer called the quarter "a strong finish to an outstanding year," and said the company was "well-positioned to continue delivering innovation and inspiration to 1 million users worldwide," thanks to a fast-growing collection of more than 33 million images and 1.5 million video clips that's made it a hub for image needs.

Now what: Shutterstock didn't disappoint in its guidance, either, as revenue projections for the current quarter and full year were both better than estimates. For the first quarter, it sees revenue of $69-$70 million, ahead of the consensus at $67.7 million, while full-year sales are forecast at $305-$310 million against estimates of $304.5 million. Shutterstock shares carry a high price tag, but this is the kind of niche business leader that investors can justify paying up for as digital image usage should grow exponentially as technology advances, and Shutterstock is poised to profit on that expansion. Analysts expect more than 25% top-line growth for Shutterstock this year and next, and I'd expect that strong growth to continue for years after.  

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