Education Management Shares Plunged: 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: Shareholders of for-profit education company Education Management (NAS: EDMC) are smarting today, with their stock plunging as much as 22% following release of its second-quarter results.

So what: There's no way to sugarcoat it; these results were ugly! For the quarter, the company, which runs Art Institutes, Argosy University, and Brown Mackie Colleges, noted a 5% drop in student enrollments and saw profits fall to $0.49 from $0.61 in the year-ago period. Since its January quarter began, the company also pointed to a worsening 9% drop in student enrollment highlighted by an 18.5% drop in enrollments for fully online courses. For the trifecta, Education Management lowered its fiscal 2012 EPS range to $1.11-$1.15, which is markedly lower than its previous forecast of $1.34-$1.40.

Now what: Seriously, now what? I think Education Management has done enough to its shareholders for one day and should allow them to recover before hitting them with more poor news. I also don't think anyone of sound mind should consider today's drop a buying opportunity. The entire for-profit education sector is in a long, drawn-out, transition period and considerably more hiccups are to be expected in Education Management's future.

Craving more input? Start by adding Education Management to your free and personalized watchlist so you can keep track of the latest news with the company.

At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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