NutriSystem in Fat City

The white hot stock jumps 23% after the latest earnings beat.
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NutriSystem

(NTRI) - Get Report

surged 23% after the weight loss outfit beat first-quarter earnings targets.

The Horsham, Pa., company made $22.3 million, or 60 cents a share, for the quarter ended March 31, up from $3.2 million, or a dime a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $146.8 million from $37.4 million a year earlier. Earnings were 63 cents a share excluding stock-based compensation costs.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for a 40-cent profit on $125 million in sales.

"We are off to a great start for 2006," said CEO Michael J. Hagan. "Our operating profit and earnings per diluted share for the first quarter exceeded our full year 2005 results. NutriSystem continues to be in high growth mode and we continue to show improvement against our most important metrics, including customer and revenue growth, free cash flow generation and declining customer acquisition costs."

The company also said it expects to make around 48 cents a share for the second quarter on a pro forma basis, excluding stock-based pay costs, and $1.95 a share on the year. Analysts were looking for 35 cents for the quarter and $1.38 for the year.

Late Monday, shares of NutriSystem -- which have already risen sevenfold over the last year -- surged $11.90 to $62.60.