ITT Educational Services Shares Got Crushed: What You Need to Know

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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 ITT Educational Services (NYS: ESI) fell as much as 13% today after the company released disappointing enrollment numbers.

So what: Education failed miserably at the end of the year as total enrollment fell 14% to 73,255 students. As a result, revenue fell 10% to $368.3 million in the fourth quarter and net income dropped 22% to $97.5 million, or $3.15 per share.

The revenue and earnings figures both topped estimates, but the company certainly isn't heading in the direction investors hoped for.

Now what: Stocks don't usually drop on an earnings beat like this, but ITT is losing students and the future is murky right now. Earnings are expected to drop again in 2012 and if students keep leaving for other education providers that doesn't bode well for the stock. There is some value in shares if management can turn the trends around, but I would like to see some progress before I try to catch a falling knife right now.

Interested in more info on ITT Educational Services? Add it to your Watchlist by clicking here.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw. 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.

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