Ventiv Health (NASDAQ:VTIV), which provides marketing and consulting services to companies such as Bayer (NYSE:BAY), Aventis (NYSE:AVE), and Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY) (the firm's also one of our Motley Fool Hidden Gems Watch List stocks), reported its third-quarter earnings yesterday to rather muted applause. One might think that when a firm announces a 50% year-on-year jump in quarterly revenues combined with a 67% increase in earnings per diluted share, the market might react with something more than a 1% boost in its stock price.

Apparently not. But that's OK. Fools who learned about (and bought) this runner-up Gem back in March have already been treated to more than a 90% return on their investment. Why, even alert readers who first heard of the company in James Early's September article have enjoyed a not-to-be-sneezed-at 25% appreciation in just two months.

For those who are new to the company, though, here's a quick rundown of its performance -- the company's, rather than the stock's -- over the past nine months. Revenues are up 57% year to date over the equivalent 2003 numbers. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations have risen 181%. And when you compare the company's numbers from last year, when it was burdened by underperforming units that have since been divested, the difference is night and day: Last year's net loss has become this year's $0.68 per-diluted-share net profit.

What's more -- and this is also as contrasted against the previous year's hobbled results -- the company's gross margin moved up from 17% to 19.6% and its operating margin has nearly doubled to 10.3%. Meanwhile, days sales outstanding have dropped precipitously from 103 to 79 -- a near-25% improvement in collections efficiency -- as accounts receivable barely budged despite the huge increase in sales.

All in all, it was a great quarter, overshadowed only by the company's even more wonderful year to date. True, the company's share count has risen by 6% over the past year -- about twice as much as our usual 3% cutoff. Were the company to rein in that dilution, it's not inconceivable that in the months to come, Ventiv might earn itself a recommendation as a Hidden Gem.

Hidden Gems isn't all about the two monthly recommendations. It's also about other strong companies (the "Watch List"): Why, to date, less than a half-dozen of our formal recommendations have outperformed Ventiv. But not to fear -- sign up now for a free trial to our service and you'll have access to this month's formal recommendations, the Watch List, and to Tiny Gems, as well as full access to all our past picks.

Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no interest in any of the companies mentioned in this article.