Why IPC's Shares Jumped

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 IPC The Hospitalist Company (NAS: IPCM) were looking quite healthy today as they shot up as much as 13% in intraday trading after the company reported first-quarter results.

So what: Today's jump for IPC's stock is nice and simple -- the company reported its first-quarter numbers and investors liked what they saw. Revenue for the quarter clocked in at $130 million, a 14.5% increase from last year. The growth was driven by a 14.2% increase in patient encounters, for a total of 1.36 million during the three-month period. Costs rose as the company added hospitalists, and so profit didn't grow nearly as quickly as revenue, but the $0.50 in earnings per share was up from $0.46 in 2011 and was ahead of the $0.49 that analysts were expecting.

Now what: As much as investors like to see current-period results that top expectations, they tend to like it even more when a company's outlook is sunny. IPC's management just reaffirmed its full-year guidance in its earnings report, but the guidance range -- revenue of $520 million-$530 million and EPS of $1.96-$2.06 -- puts the company's estimates slightly ahead of what Wall Street was anticipating.

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