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California Water Service Group (NYSE:CWT) set a new 52-week high following its latest earnings announcement. Shares continue to trade at peak levels on the heels of the company's second consecutive surprise.

Company Description

California Water Service Company's business, which is carried on through its operating subsidiaries, consists of the production, purchase, storage, purification, distribution and sale of water for domestic, industrial, public and irrigation uses, and for fire protection.

It also provides water related services under agreements with municipalities and other private companies. The non-regulated services include full water system operation, and billing and meter reading services.

Earnings Spike in Third Quarter

On Oct 29 California Water Service announced third quarter earnings of $1.06 per share. EPS was 58% higher than the 67 cents in the same quarter of 2007. Revenue surged 16%,or $17.9 million, to $131.7 million.

The report was the company's second consecutive surprise, as the numbers easily surpassed analysts estimates which averaged 79 cents per share.

Consensus Jumps On EPS Surprise

Wall Street earnings estimates spiked after the third-quarter announcement. The current full-year 2008 consensus is $1.97, up from $1.67 prior to the report. Estimate for 2009 also rose and are now $2.06, up from $1.99.

Analyst estimates are forecasting 35% year-over-year earnings growth for 2008 and another 7% in 2009.

The Chart

Shares of CWT surged following the late October earnings announcement. The stock rocketed off of its 52-week low, $27.68, and set its 52-week high of $42.50. Shares have been pressuring that level for several weeks. Take a look at the chart below.

click to enlarge

Source: California Water Service Continues to Trade at Peak Levels