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Why Cash America International, Inc. Shares Jumped

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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 Cash America International (NYSE: CSH  ) , a specialty finance company that provides pawn loans, check cashing, and wire transfer services, jumped as much as 15% after announcing a plan to evaluate the spin-off of its online business and updating its first-quarter EPS guidance.

So what: According to the company's press release, Cash America international's board of directors has given management the green light to explore "potential strategic alternatives, including a tax-free spin-off" for the company's e-commerce division, Enova International. Management expects to make its recommendation to the board sometime this year. If a spin-off were to occur, should all parties agree in favor of the separation, it would happen by late 2014 or early 2015. Cash America also notes that any spin-off would result in a tax-free distribution of at least 80% of Enova's common stock to shareholders.

In addition, Cash America issued a separate press release today that it anticipates reporting $1.50-$1.55 in EPS for the first quarter compared with its previous expectation of just $1.25. The company attributed the mammoth beat to lower loan losses as well as improved operating efficiencies.

Now what: That's a lot of good news for shareholders to digest in one day, but I suspect they'll manage. The talk of a spin-off is certainly intriguing as it could help unlock value by making it easier for investors to understand the growth differences between Cash America's storefront and online businesses. The potential for long-term growth here is really with its Enova online brand, and I believe management finally realizes that. Needless to say, with fewer loan losses, a single-digit forward P/E, and management clearly focused on ways to improve shareholder value, I would suggest there could be further upside to this stock.

Cash America may be soaring today, but it'll likely be hard-pressed to keep up with this top stock in 2014
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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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