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ITT stock sinks after profit plunges 42 percent

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ITT Educational Services Inc.'s stock took a licking Thursday after its quarterly earnings report badly missed expectations of Wall Street analysts.

Carmel-based ITT said Thursday morning that it earned $46 million, down nearly 42 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.

The company's shares fell more than 20 percent before rebounding slightly later in the day. Shares closed down about 15 percent, at $43.14 each.

On a per-share basis, ITT earned $1.96, down from $2.85. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected $2.18 per share; even the most bearish analyst expected $1.97.

Revenue fell 15 percent, to $329.8 million. Analysts were expecting more than $339 million.

ITT tried to boost its earnings per share by purchasing 928,000 of its shares during the quarter at a total price of more than $61 million.

Demand for ITT’s associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs has slackened after a wave of students entered its halls during the recession. Also, stricter rules by the Obama administration have forced for-profit colleges to adjust their recruiting practices.

ITT’s new-student enrollment during the second quarter fell 9.5 percent, to 15,698 students. It was the first quarter in more than a year in which new-student enrollment did not fall at least 14 percent.

Shares of ITT Educational closed Wednesday at $50.43. They are down more than 11 percent since the beginning of the year.

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