Here's Why VASCO Data Security International, Inc. Shares Surged

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 VASCO Data Security International  (NASDAQ: VDSI  ) are trading 13% higher this afternoon after the company reported strong first-quarter results and increased estimates for full-year sales in its core segments.

So what: VASCO's first-quarter revenue of $38.8 million was a 10% year-over-year improvement on the last March quarter, and adjusted earnings of $0.09 per share from continuing operations represented a big 46% year-over-year improvement -- final GAAP EPS was also $0.09, a 29% year-over-year increase. Both figures smoked Wall Street's analysts, who had projected $36.3 million in revenue and a mere $0.04 in EPS for the quarter. Vasco now expects to generate between $168 million to $172 million in revenue from its traditional businesses for 2014 -- which excludes new DIGIPASS service offerings -- up from the prior revenue guidance range of $160 million to $165 million for the year. Analysts had expected only $160.8 million for 2014, so this is undoubtedly good news.

Now what: VASCO had been suffering declining core metrics for a while prior to this report, as its trailing-12-month EPS was a third lower, and its trailing-12-month free cash flow two-thirds lower, than it had been five years ago. Effectively, all of the company's share-price gains of recent years have been valuation driven, as the company started 2013 with a P/E of roughly 20 compared to today's 33 P/E. Today's double beat is good news, but it doesn't mean that VASCO has become a screaming buy just yet, either.

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