Jefferies Keeps 'Buy' on Career Education

Analyst Richard Close also raised the for-profit education provider's earnings estimates

Jefferies raised the estimates and reiterated the buy rating on Career Education (CECO ).

Analyst Richard Close says results were 3 cents better than his and the consensus estimates. He says solid population metrics were the primary driver behind impressive revenue growth. He notes total population was 83,200, vs. 55,100, 51% growth year over year, and 9,154 students was higher than his projection of 74,046 students for the winter.

Close says new student starts improved 74% to 22,750, vs. 13,100 last year, and was also higher than the 57.9% growth (20,679 students) he anticipated. He raised the $1.43 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.57, and upped the $1.72 2005 estimate to $1.90. He's keeping his $61 target.

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