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What: Shares of children's book publisher Scholastic (NAS: SCHL) were spiking today, gaining as much as 25% in intraday trading after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results.
So what: For starters, Scholastic's third-quarter numbers crushed Wall Street's expectations. For the three months ending in February, revenue clocked in at $467 million, up 22% from the prior year. On the bottom line, the seasonality of Scholastic's business led to a loss, but the $0.09 per-share loss was much lower than the $0.77 loss from 2011. Analysts had been expecting a net loss per share of $0.70 on revenue of $393 million.
The strong results were driven in large part by sales of the Hunger Games book series. Scholastic said that sales of the trilogy "reached a high point" during the quarter ahead of the release of the movie adaptation of the first book.
Now what: Topping expectations for the third quarter is great, but what investors may be really excited about today is a significant boost to the company's full-year outlook. For its fiscal year, Scholastic now sees revenue of $2 billion and earnings per share ranging from $2.60 to $2.90. That compares to a previous forecast of $1.9 billion in sales and EPS from $1.75 to $2.10.
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