Why Higher One Holdings, Inc Shares Popped 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 Higher One Holdings, Inc (NYSE: ONE  ) rose as much as 10% early Thursday, then settled to close up around 6% after the company reported better-than-expected first-quarter results.

So what: Quarterly revenue rose 16% year over year, to $66.6 million. That translated to adjusted earnings of $12 million, or $0.25 per diluted share. Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of $0.22 per share on sales of $60.57 million.

Now what: Higher One CEO Marc Sheinbaum added: "I am pleased with the solid revenue growth that we experienced in the first quarter. Our Payment Processing and Higher Education revenue continue to grow at impressive rates, driven by Campus Solutions contributions and organic payment processing growth."

You might recall that after Higher One shares skyrocketed following its Q3, 2013 results last November, I chose to remain on the sidelines, given uncertainties presented by regulatory scrutiny in 2014. I'm still cautious as proposed rules are still being debated that could affect Higher One's business. However, it's hard to ignore the fact shares have fallen around 34% since then and trade at a rock-bottom 8.5 times next year's expected earnings. As a result, while I'm not ready to dive in with both feet, I think Higher One shares might finally be worth a deeper look.

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