Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of American Public Education were getting dismissed today, falling as much as 10% after reporting fourth-quarter earnings.

So what: Compared to its competitors lately, the for-profit educator seemed to have a decent report. Overall enrollment was up 10%, and new student enrollment increased 8%. Revenues increased 14%, to $86 million, and earnings per share moved up slightly, from $0.71, to $0.74, which beat estimates of $0.67. However, America Public Education's outlook disappointed the market, as it expected enrollment to drop between 5% and 7% in the current quarter, with earnings per share of $0.55-$0.58. Analysts were expecting earnings of $0.60 a share.


Now what: Expectations just continue to go down in this industry, as the Obama Administration has tightened oversight over the for-profit sector. The shift to a decline in enrollment is concerning, but American Public Education is faring at least as well as most of its peers. Revenue and profits are still expected to grow, so the downside here seems limited.

Get more on American Public Education. Add the company to your Watchlist here.

The article Why American Public Education Shares Fell originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Jeremy Bowman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Public Education. The Motley Fool owns shares of American Public Education. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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