Why Live Nation'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 Ticketmaster parent Live Nation (NYS: LYV) were rocking and rolling today, gaining as much as 13% in intraday trading after the company reported first-quarter results.

So what: Revenue for the quarter ending in March climbed 2.2% on strong growth from the smaller Artist Nation and Sponsorship and Advertising segments as concert revenue flatlined. On the bottom line, the company reported a $0.37-per-share loss, which was worse than last year's $0.27 loss, but only because the company raked a big tax benefit in 2011. The $0.37 loss was better than the $0.44 loss that analysts were expecting. Notably, the first quarter is part of the off season for the concerts and events that Live Nation profits off, so it's normal for the first quarter to look much worse than the second and third quarters.

Now what: While the lower-than-expected loss for the first quarter may be contributing to investors' excitement today, a positive outlook for the rest of the year may also have a lot to do with it. In the company's earnings press release, CEO Michael Rapino said ticket sales during the quarter were up from last year, which suggests that the company is "well positioned for the summer concert season." Since the company doesn't book ticket revenue until an event occurs, ticket sales today are a good indicator of revenue in future periods.

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