Why Coinstar's Shares Popped

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 Redbox parent Coinstar (NAS: CSTR) were getting two thumbs-up from investors, rising as much as 14% in intraday trading after the company boosted its first-quarter outlook.

So what: Earnings season may be in its very early innings, but some companies are getting the word out to investors early if results look better (or worse) than had been expected. For Coinstar investors, the news was good, really good.

For the first quarter, the company bumped up its expected revenue range from $530 million-$555 million to a range of $567 million-$569 million. The company also said that "core" earnings will likely be $1.36-$1.40 per share. That's more than a bit better than the $0.90 analysts were expecting.

Now what: There are no two ways about it -- this is news to be excited about. Redbox has been driving much of the growth at Coinstar, and some investors had worried that new restrictions applied by some movie studios -- including delayed releases -- would hamper the business. That doesn't seem to be the case. The company said that it benefited from the popularity of Moneyball, Puss in Boots, and 50/50, but considering the fact that Hollywood is continually churning out movies that consumers want to watch, that's sort of like saying, "We benefited from the fact that we're in a good business."

Whether today's good news represents a buying opportunity, I'm not as convinced. When it comes to investing, I mostly stick to boring fare. Even though Redbox has been scorching hot -- and I'm a fan of the service myself -- we're talking about a rapidly evolving industry with a slew of competition that includes Netflix, Apple, and Amazon.com. In the Hunger Games of movie rentals, Redbox has its work cut out for it.

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