Why Matrix Service Co.'s 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 engineering services company Matrix Service Co. (NASDAQ: MTRX  ) jumped 18% today after announcing earnings and new contract wins.

So what: First-quarter revenue was up 68.8% to $381.5 million and net income jumped 75% to $11.4 million, or $0.42 per share. That was well ahead of the $0.34 estimate from Wall Street.  

Adding to the earnings beat was an announcement this morning that Matrix was awarded $100 million in terminal expansion contracts.  

Now what: Operations are doing well and the 44% increase in backlog to $905.1 million is encouraging long term. Management also increased its earnings guidance to $1.34 to $1.42 per share for 2014, which is above Wall Street's $1.31 estimate. I like the direction Matrix is headed operationally and think the energy and industrial markets the company serves are going to grow overall. Shares are getting expensive after today's pop, but if they pull back in the next few weeks, they'll be a good buy for investors.

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