Why Digital River Inc. Shares Popped Today

Is this meaningful? Or just another movement?

May 1, 2014 at 2:23PM

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 Digital River (NASDAQ:DRIV) are trading 8% higher in the afternoon after rocketing to an opening-bell gain of over 11% on Wednesday morning. Investors have cheered Digital River's strong first-quarter earnings and are reacting favorably to respectable (though not strong) guidance issued for the remainder of the fiscal year.

So what: Digital River's first-quarter revenue fell 12% year over year to $97.8 million, but this reduced figure nevertheless cleared Wall Street's low expectations for $93.6 million in revenue. The company's earnings of $0.20 per share stomped on analyst expectations of a more modest $0.10 in EPS.

Digital River now expects to generate between $84 million and $87 million in revenue, and anticipates recording a loss of anywhere from $0.07 to $0.03 per share, for the second quarter. Analysts had expected $83.6 million in revenue, but had hoped Digital River would reach breakeven on the bottom line for the second quarter. Digital River also issued full-year guidance, which anticipates revenue in the range of $377 million to $382 million with an EPS range of $0.41 to $0.51. Analysts had sought $371.2 million in full-year revenue and $0.42 in full-year EPS, so the annual projection came in ahead on both counts.

Now what: This isn't really as good a report as it may seem on the surface. Digital River recorded $394.7 million in revenue for its 2013 fiscal year, so even the high end of its full-year guidance would result in a 3% year-over-year decline on the top line. The company's earnings per share, which have dawdled in negative territory of late as the result of one-time charges, were last positive toward the end of 2012, as Digital River recorded $0.42 in trailing 12-month EPS during the third quarter of that year. There might be some opportunity here, but it's buried under a thick layer of bad history. You'll have to dig pretty deep to uncover a hidden gem, and you're still far more likely to wind up with a pile of dirt.

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Alex Planes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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