Why Walter Investment Management Corp. Shares Soared

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 Walter Investment Management  (NYSE: WAC  ) have gained roughly 17% today after the business solutions specialist came through with a huge beat on its first-quarter earnings and full-year guidance.

So what: Walter's revenue rose 18% year over year to $369.9 million for the quarter, which was weaker than Wall Street's $379.8 million consensus estimate. However, Walter's adjusted earnings of $1.53 per share were far better than the Street's expectation for $0.96 in EPS, even though a Briefing report on the company's earnings warned that this figure "may not be comparable" to analysts' estimates. Walter's generally accepted accounting principles net income dropped from $0.73 per share a year ago to just $0.45 per share today, primarily due to changes in the fair value of servicing rights. Core earnings (essentially the same as adjusted earnings) of $1.53 per share were similar to the year-ago quarter's core EPS of $1.57.

Walter maintained its full-year EPS guidance range of $5.65 to $6.25. At its midpoint ($5.95), this represents a solid 14% beat of Wall Street's full-year EPS estimate of $5.21.

Now what: Walter generated a lot of core earnings in 2013, as it reported adjusted EPS of $9.63 per share in its fourth-quarter report earlier this year. Still, $5.95 in EPS puts Walter's adjusted forward P/E at just 4.8, even after today's pop. Walter shareholders did not enjoy 2013, as the stock lost roughly a quarter of its value last year and were heading far lower this year before today's pop. This is undoubtedly good news, but it may take a bit more digging to determine whether this rebound will hold up, or if it'll prove as short-lived as the pop that took place last summer.

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