DeVry Gains Most in 14 Months on Upgrade After Earnings Beat

DeVry Education Group Inc., the for-profit college operator, rose the most in 14 months after posting fiscal third-quarter profit and revenue that topped analysts’ estimates.

The shares gained 14 percent to $45.99 at the close in New York for the biggest daily increase since February 2013. The Downers Grove, Illinois-based company’s stock has climbed 30 percent this year, the most among the 13 members of the Bloomberg U.S. For-Profit Education Index.

While student signups at for-profit colleges have sagged in recent years because of competition and state and federal investigations, DeVry yesterday reported a 1.7 percent increase in total enrollment, led by gains in its health and Brazil divisions. Peter Appert, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos., raised his rating on the shares to outperform from neutral and his 12-month price target to $54 from $34.

“Continued strength in health/international units and signs of life at DeVry University suggest worst is behind us,” said Appert, who is based in San Francisco, in a note today to clients.

Sales dropped 1.5 percent to $496.1 million in the three months ended March 31, the company said yesterday in a statement. That beat the $493.1 million average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Profit from continuing operations excluding some items was 87 cents a share, compared with an average projection of 75 cents.

DeVry said in February that it received a request from the Federal Trade Commission for five years of information related to its advertising, marketing and sales practices.

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