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Why HealthStream Shares Popped

By Sean Williams - Apr 23, 2013 at 1:02PM

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A strong growth forecast puts some pep in HealthStream's step, but is this software-as-a-service provider now overvalued?

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 HealthStream (HSTM 2.32%), an Internet-based research solutions company providing training and education for the health care industry, jumped as much as 18% after the company reported first-quarter earnings results.

So what: For the quarter, HealthStream reported 25% growth in revenue to $29.6 million and a 37% increase in net income, working out to a profit of $0.07 per share. Wall Street had been expecting EPS of $0.07 (which HealthStream delivered), but was only looking for revenue of $28.7 million. Looking ahead, HealthStream forecast revenue growth of 20% to 22% in 2013, placing its revenue range right in line with current Street estimates. The company notes that the majority of its fast-paced growth will come from its learning and talent management segment, which is anticipated to grow by 24% to 26% in 2013.

Now what: HealthStream is a complete toss-up in my book from an investing perspective. On one hand, the company's software-as-a-service operational model makes a lot of sense on paper with all the information moving into a digital platform in the health-care sector. On the flipside, investors are already paying 60 times forward earnings for a company slated to grow by 20%-22% in 2013 for a PEG ratio nearing 3. That seems awfully expensive to me and would be reason enough to wait for a hefty pullback before even considering a purchase.

Craving more input? Start by adding HealthStream to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep up on the latest news with the company.

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