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 Strayer Education (NASDAQ:STRA) were moving to the head of the class today, jumping as much as 33% after a blowout fourth-quarter earnings report.
So what: The for-profit educator flew past EPS estimates of $0.98, posting a per-share profit of $1.32, while sliding revenues also beat expectations as sales declined 12.5%, to $124.1 million, against the consensus at $119.3 million. That wasn't the only good news, however, as new student enrollment seemed to be bottoming out. While overall student enrollment fell 14%, new student entrants declined only 2%, indicating that the company's revenue drop may soon be coming to an end.
Now what: Education stocks have gotten banged up over the last couple of years, but declining enrollments seem to be easing as the Strayer report indicates. The company also completed a restructuring initiative that will save $50 million a year, starting in 2014, which should further bolster the bottom line. Strayer still trades at a P/E under 10 even after today's jump as the market has been expecting its numbers to continue to go south, but this was the second strong earnings beat we've seen in a row. Profits could start improving faster than the market thinks.