Learning Tree hurdles 4Q estimates

Learning Tree International beat the Street in its fourth quarter Thursday, raking in $9.1 million, or 40 cents a share, on sales of $58.6 million.

First Call Corp. consensus predicted the provider of education and information technology training to earn 36 cents a share in the quarter.

Ahead of the earnings report, Learning Tree shares closed off 38 cents to $46.

The $58.6 million in sales marks a 21 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $5.7 million, or 26 cents a share, on sales of $48.5 million.

"We are pleased to post another set of record results for both our fourth quarter and our just completed fiscal year 2000," said CEO David Collins in a prepared release. "Our strong growth reflects the increased investment by our customers in the knowledge and skills of their IT professionals since the beginning of this calendar year."

For the fiscal year, it made $50.4 million, or $1.65 a share, on sales of $224 million compared to a profit of$14.7 million, or 57 cents a share, on sales of $189.3 million in fiscal 1999.

The stock moved as high as $78.88 in September after falling to a 52-week low of $18.63 last November.

All three analysts following the stock maintain a "strong buy" recommendation.

Analysts are predicting a profit of $1.91 a share in fiscal 2001.