For-profit education stocks rally after DeVry beats expectations

theflyonthewall.com

For-profit education stocks are climbing after one of the largest companies in the sector, DeVry (DV), reported stronger than expected second quarter results last night. DeVry's earnings excluding one-time items came in at 87c, versus analysts' consensus estimate of 56c. The company's revenue was slightly higher than expected. DeVry said that its costs in the second quarter were below its previous outlook, partly due to the deferral of some expenses into the third quarter. DeVry now expects to reduce its costs by $80M in the current fiscal year, up from its previous total of $60M. Undergraduate enrollment at the company's flagship DeVry University dropped 15.5% for the November 2012 session compared with the same period a year earlier and graduate student enrollment tumbled 16% during the same period. The total number of online undergraduate and graduate coursetakers in the November session decreased 11.7%, the company added. On a positive note, total enrollment at the company's Chamberlain College of Nursing surged 13.5%. In a note to investors earlier today, JPMorgan analyst Jeffrey Volshteyn upgraded his rating on the stock to Neutral from Underwegiht. While DeVry University's enrollment was weak, the company's other schools posted "stellar" results, the analyst wrote, adding that the company's diversification strategy appears to be working. Volshteyn increased his target on the shares to $28 from $22. In late morning trading, Apollo Group (APOL) climbed 3% to $20.60, Strayer (STRA) rallied 5% to $61, Grand Canyon (LOPE) rose 4% to $25.50, and ITT Educational (ESI) soared 7.5% to $18.07. Meanwhile, DeVry shares jumped over 20% to $31.41.

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