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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.
Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.