Apollo Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

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 University of Phoenix parent Apollo Group (NAS: APOL) were moving to the head of the class today, tacking on as much as 13% in intraday trading after a better-than-expected earnings report.

So what: The news hasn't been terribly good for for-profit educators lately as regulators have been bearing down on the industry. While that has largely been a negative, it has also knocked down expectations and given companies like Apollo manageable quarterly hurdles to jump.

For its fiscal fourth quarter -- which ended in August -- Apollo reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.02, which easily cruised past the $0.94 that analysts were estimating. That tally was, however, down from $1.31 in adjust EPS last year, while total revenue dropped 11% and enrollment slipped 19%.

Now what: Shares of Apollo and other for-profit educators like Corinthian Colleges (NAS: COCO) and Strayer (NAS: STRA) have gotten clobbered and clobbered some more over the past couple of years. The question for investors to consider now isn't whether there are issues around the for-profit education sector, but whether those issues have been largely priced into the stocks and the better-run companies can now start growing again off of a new, lower base with new regulator-approved recruitment practices.

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