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NutriSystem Fattens Up

Shares soar on improved guidance.
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NutriSystem (NTRI) - Get Free Report surged 13% late Wednesday after beating first-quarter earnings targets and guiding higher for the year.

The Horsham, Pa., diet company made $38 million, or $1.04 a share, for the quarter ended March 31, up from the year-ago $22 million, or 60 cents a share. Revenue rose 60% from a year ago to $238 million.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 91-cent profit on sales of $213 million.

"The solid growth of our core women's market and continued strength of the men's market allowed us to achieve record earnings," said CEO Michael J. Hagan. "In addition, an integral part of our first quarter has been the ongoing expansion of our pool of ex-customers and their desire to return to NutriSystem for weight management services. The operating margin expansion we saw in the first quarter was partially due to the growth in revenue from ex-customers."

NutriSystem said it expects to make 82 to 86 cents a share for the second quarter and $3.34 to $3.46 for the year. Analysts were looking for 70 cents for the quarter and $3.05 for the year.

Shares rose $7.41 to $65.65.