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Why Weight Watchers Stock Was Soaring 20% Friday Morning

Daniel Miller, The Motley Fool

What happened?

Shares of WW International (NASDAQ: WW), the global wellness company formerly known as Weight Watchers, soared over 20% higher during early morning trading Friday after a better-than-expected first quarter. But let's put that data into some context.

So what

WW's gains today could be a case of "not great results, but better than expected." The company's first-quarter revenue checked in at $363.2 million, just shy of analysts' estimates calling for $366 million. It also posted a loss of $10.7 million, or $0.16 per share, which was narrower than analysts' expected loss of $0.26 per share during the first quarter. While the company's bottom line was better than expected, both the top and bottom lines were a pullback from the prior year's $0.56 earnings per share on revenue of $408.2 million.

"Trends improved sequentially throughout the quarter, resulting in 4.6 million subscribers at quarter end, up 1% year over year," CEO Mindy Grossman said in a press release. "We are confident that our strategy to focus on providing holistic wellness solutions leveraging our best-in-class weight management program is the right path to support long-term sustainable growth."

A salad and weight loss phone application

Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

The stock has been on a roller coast ride, with shares rocketing over 33% higher in the past seven days. But even with that pop, the stock is still down 67% over the past year.

WW Chart

WW data by YCharts.

While first-quarter revenues declined 11%, or 9% on a constant currency basis, there were a couple of bright spots for investors. Total paid weeks were up 4% during the first quarter versus the prior year, and as the CEO noted, end-of-period subscribers increased 1% to 4.6 million. Lastly, management upped its full-year earnings guidance to the range of $1.35 to $1.55 per share, from prior guidance of $1.25 to $1.50 per share, giving investors more confidence for the remainder of 2019.

Investors might be jumping on board today thinking this is the bottom of WW's near-yearlong slide, especially if management can focus on increasing member recruitment and retention, and improving its costs throughout 2019.

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Daniel Miller has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.