NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Apollo Group ( APOL) rose in Thursday's after-hours action after the Phoenix-based private education company topped Wall Street's expectations with its fiscal third-quarter results. The company, which owns the University of Phoenix and has both online and campus-based operations, reported earnings from continuing operations, excluding items, of $203.5 million, or $1.45 a share, for the three months ended May 31 with revenue coming in at $1.24 billion. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for earnings of $1.33 a share on revenue of $1.19 billion in the May-ended period.
The stock was last quoted at $46.05, up 5.4%, on volume of more than 600,000, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on a regular session close at $43.68, the shares were up 9% so far in 2011, although their 52-week high of $53.61 dates back to Sept. 23. Apollo Group said it now expects revenue of $4.65 billion to $4.75 billion in fiscal 2011 ending in August with operating income, excluding items, projected between $1.15 billion and $1.2 billion. For fiscal 2012, the company sees a decline on both the top and bottom lines, forecasting revenue of $4 billion to $4.25 billion, with operating income of $675 million to $800 million, excluding items. Wall Street was a bit apprehensive ahead of the report with 13 of the 23 analysts sitting at hold, and the median 12-month price target a modest $48. Apollo Group said new degreed enrollment fell to 56,000 for the latest quarter from 94,100 last year, while total degreed enrollment was down to 398,400 in the most recent quarter from 476,500 a year ago. Other educational companies were up in late trades, including Corinthian Colleges ( COCO) and ITT Educational Services ( ESI). Other stocks moving in extended action included Darden Restaurants ( DRI), which edged down 1.5% to $49 on volume of less than 300,000 after the restaurant operator, whose chains include Red Lobster and Olive Garden, reported in-line results for its fiscal fourth quarter and boosted its quarterly dividend by 34%; and Xyratex ( XRTX), which fell nearly 6% to $9.66 on volume of more than 50,000 after the U.K.-based disk drive components maker posted a wider than expected loss.