Why MedAssets, Inc. Shares Spiked Higher

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 MedAssets , a cloud-based provider of clinical resource management and revenue cycle management solutions for the health-care industry, spiked higher by as much as 15% after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results after the bell last night.

So what: For the quarter, MedAssets reported a relatively tame 4% increase in revenue to $170.5 million, highlighted by a 7% increase in its clinical resource management segment and a 1% decline in its revenue cycle management segment. Adjusted income for the quarter came in at $0.30 per share, handily reversing a year-ago loss. By comparison, Wall Street expected a $0.28-per-share profit on just $165.7 million in revenue. Looking toward 2014, MedAssets is forecasting revenue growth of 2.9%-4.9%, with adjusted EPS of $1.33-$1.43, or 0.8%-8.3% growth. Both figures are in line with the current consensus estimate. To boot, MedAssets' board also authorized the repurchase of $75 million of its own shares over the next 12 months.

Now what: Compared to Wall Street's expectations, this was a pretty stable quarter, but as a shareholder, you have to be at least a bit concerned, I believe, at this lack of top- and bottom-line growth. The rollout of Obamacare has caused a number of clinical segments, including hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies that contract out their research, to tighten their belts. One way these sectors can reduce spending is by utilizing MedAssets solutions to improve operating efficiency. Apparently, that's not happening at the moment and it's a bit confusing -- almost as confusing as why the company would buy back shares when it could instead initiate a dividend. MedAssets still appears fairly inexpensive on a forward P/E basis, but I'd suggest it's fully valued here with growth middling in the low-to-mid-single digits.

MedAssets may be soaring today, but it'll probably have a hard time keeping up with this top stock in 2014
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The article Why MedAssets, Inc. Shares Spiked Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

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.The Motley Fool has no position in any companies mentioned in this article. 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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