By Paul Goodwin
Today’s stock pick is a nod in the direction of fundamentals. Bridgepoint Education (BPI) is a San Diego-based, for-profit, post-secondary education company that has a great history of growing earnings. Bridgepoint was founded in 2004, and features a combination of traditional programs at a couple of universities, but well over 90% of all enrollments are online. The story is a good one, as for-profit institutions have pushed the possibilities for online higher education far beyond their old limits. In a challenging employment environment, online classes keep costs down and offer access without the restrictions of geography.
Beginning in Q3 2008, Bridgepoint began a series of seven quarters that featured triple-digit earnings growth. Revenue also increased at triple-digit rates right up to the two most recent quarters. And the numbers for the most-recent quarter–a 133% jump in earnings on an 85% gain in revenue–were disappointing only by comparison with previous blowout reports.
BPI is a relatively young stock, having come public in April 2009, and it began 2010 trading at 15. The stock is now around 25, after a huge surge in March, and is digesting its gains. The technical cue to look for is a breakout above its old high of 27.5 on heightened volume.