Why Stage Stores Inc 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 Stage Stores Inc  (NYSE: SSI  ) were heading to the next level today, climbing as much as 17% after reporting earnings and saying it would sell its Steele's stores. 

So what: The department-store chain posted an EPS of $1.01 against estimates of $0.99, while sales fell 5.4%, to $499.4 million, below expectations of $510.4 million. Stage also said it would sell its 35 Steele's stores in a 100% equity sale to the Hilco Global Retail Group. Still, the earnings beat seemed to be the main reason for the jump in share price, as a value on the equity stake was not available. 

Now what: For 2014, Stage expects an EPS of $1.35-$1.45, better than analyst estimates at $1.36, and a solid improvement from the $1.22 per-share profit it delivered in 2013, indicating the sale of Steele's stores should help margins. CEO Michael Glazer said, "The initiatives we undertook last year should drive 2014 growth" as the company plans to open, expand, or relocate 40 to 50 stores. The company is only expecting minimal growth for the year, but a 2.5% dividend yield gives investors at least one other reason to stick around. 

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