Why Green Dot Corporation Shares Couldn't Hold Onto Their Gains Today

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 Green Dot Corporation (NYSE: GDOT  ) began the trading day on Thursday by surging nearly 13% higher, but have since given up nearly all of those gains to fall back to a gain of less than 2% near the end of the trading day. Early optimism about Green Dot's big earnings beat has given way to a shoulder shrug as investors changed their minds about the company's progress.

So what: Green Dot's first-quarter revenue rose a mere 3.4% year over year to reach $159.3 million, which was a little weaker than the $160.7 million consensus from Wall Street, but the company's adjusted earnings of $0.42 per share trounced analyst expectations for $0.30 in EPS. Green Dot's guidance is the same -- the company still expects to generate between $640 million and $650 million in full-year revenue, which is better than the $637 Wall Street estimate -- but its full-year EPS guidance of $1.22 to $1.28 falls a little short of the $1.27 analyst consensus.

Now what: Green Dot's adjusted EPS was $1.15 for 2013, so the midpoint of its EPS guidance range for this year represents year-over-year growth of roughly 9% on the bottom line. However, the company is still a way off of its earlier performance -- 2011's adjusted EPS was $1.55, and 2012's was $1.37. Green Dot has yet to recapture the trust of shareholders who were burned by the bottom-line drops of recent years and, while it's making progress today, that progress remains somewhat modest, which isn't the sort of progress a serious growth investor wants to see before diving in.

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