Why Healthways Inc. 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 Healthways , a specialized health solutions provider that promotes physical emotional and social well-being, jumped as much as 16% after the company reported better than expected first-quarter results after the closing bell last night.

So what: For the quarter, Healthways delivered a 7% increase in revenue to $176.8 million. It announced 20 new contracts signings in the first quarter, including a major contract with a Fortune 100 company that will cover more than 300,000 eligible members. Adjusted net loss for the quarter also shrank to just $0.07 per share from a loss of $0.12 per share in the year-ago quarter. Wall Street had expected Healthways to report a wider loss of $0.11 per share on $176.5 million in revenue. Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its full-year guidance for $0.11-$0.26 in earnings per share on revenue of $730 million-$760 million.

Now what: It's hard to deny that this was a solid quarter of growth for Healthways with its top line headed in the right direction and its loss shrinking. Furthermore, as health-care costs rise and baby boomers age, the need for fee-based specialized health solutions should only increase; this will play right into the hands of Healthways. However, speaking strictly as a skeptic and value investor, I'd contend that much of that optimism has likely already been baked into its shares. With a robust growth rate I might support a forward P/E of 55, but its expected high single-digit growth rate over the next couple of years doesn't make me a fan at this price.

Healthways may have soared today, but it'll probably be hard-pressed to keep pace with this top stock in 2014
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The article Why Healthways Inc. Shares Jumped 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.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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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