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 Air Methods (NASDAQ:AIRM), a provider of air medical emergency transport services in the U.S., flew higher by as much as 14% after reporting better-than-expected third-quarter earnings results.
So what: For the quarter, Air Methods delivered a 14% increase in revenue to $252.4 million from the previous year as net income jumped a robust 28% to $35.6 million, or $0.91 per share. Wall Street was only expecting Air Methods to report a profit of $0.84 per share on revenue of $246.9 million. The big boost in profit for the company came from a 7% decrease in maintenance expenses, as well as a whopping 18% increase in net revenue per patient. Looking ahead, Air Methods reported preliminary results of approximately a 1% increase in transports for October 2013 compared to October 2012.
Now what: Air Methods certainly isn't cheap anymore, but it possesses something year-round that few businesses can boast: pricing power. The company's 18% increase in net patient revenue is a clear sign that the business of air medical transport is dominated by just a few companies, making demand and pricing almost inelastic. Barring inclement weather, which really can't be predicted, Air Methods' business model provides consistent cash flow and the ability to boost pricing as necessary to ensure profitability. It's really the type of stock that long-term investors who dislike volatility should consider taking a deeper dive into.