(Apollo Group earnings report updated with analyst commentary and quotes from the company's conference call .)
PHOENIX (TheStreet) -- Apollo Group (APOL) shares soared Tuesday thanks to an earnings beat posted late Monday.
Apollo shares jumped 13.4% to close at $40.74 on Tuesday. The stock had fallen sharply in Monday's trading session after sector peer Strayer Education (STRA) said student enrollment in its programs fell by double-digit percentages.
Apollo Group, the parent company of University of Phoenix and other for-profit postsecondary education programs, posted fiscal-first quarter profits of $235.4 million, or $1.61 per share, down 2% from year-earlier earnings of $240.1 million, or 1.54 per share.
Despite the profit decline, Apollo handily beat expectations for earnings of $1.35 per share, or $197.7 million. Revenue came in at $1.33 billion, up 5.4% from year-earlier revenue of $1.26 billion, driven largely by tuition price increases at Apollo's flagship University of Phoenix. Top-line results also beat expectations. Analysts' consensus call had been for revenue of $1.26 billion. "Outlook for most of these companies in the space still remains murky," said Stern Agee & Leach analyst Arvind Bhatia. Height Analytics analyst Jarrel Price said "we are encouraged that the cost of positioning the company for future success is not worse than expected given industry trends." "We do not think yesterday's first-quarter announcement indicated a meaningful acceleration in Apollo's recovery," he added. RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Wetenhall said that "investors are starting to give Apollo credit for improving the quality of its business model, but remain cautious due to poor enrollment visibility."
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