Why Shares of LivePerson Are Soaring Today

By Timothy Green Markets Fool.com

What happened

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Shares of cloud-based engagement solutions provider LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN) jumped on Thursday following the company's first-quarter report. LivePerson produced revenue near the high end of its previous guidance range, edging out analyst estimates, and it raised the low end of its full-year revenue guidance range. That was enough to send the stock 20% higher by 11:45 a.m. EDT.

So what

LivePerson reported first-quarter revenue of $50.9 million, down 8% year over year but $0.5 million higher than the average analyst estimate. Revenue was at the high end of the company's previous guidance range of $50 million to $51 million.

The LiveEngage platform. Image source: LiveEngage.

Non-GAAP earnings per share came in at $0.01, down from $0.03 in the prior-year period but in line with the average analyst estimate. GAAP net loss doubled year over year to $0.10 per share, with cost-cutting partially offsetting lower revenue.

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LivePerson now expects to produce between $204 million and $209 million of revenue in 2017, up from a previous range of $201 million to $209 million. Non-GAAP EPS guidance remained the same, with the company calling for a range of $0.07 to $0.12.

Now what

LivePerson has been transitioning its business to its LiveEngage platform, which has led to revenue declines. The company stated that it's slightly ahead of plan, allowing it to boost its full-year guidance. LivePerson CEO Robert LoCascio pointed to positive trends during the first quarter:

We shifted back to a focus on growth in the first quarter. Our selling activity accelerated back to pre-migration levels, we signed multiple new messaging deals, and we generated a record average selling price. The breadth and sophistication of our enterprise-class LiveEngage platform affords LivePerson a clear lead as we aim to transform customer care.

Shares of LivePerson are still down around 50% since peaking in early 2012. But signs of progress during the first quarter were enough for investors to push up the stock.

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Timothy Green has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LivePerson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.