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LivePerson Stock Hits New Highs After Earnings

No one will confuse LivePerson (NASDAQ: LPSN) for a high-octane growth stock, but it is showing signs of life these days. The provider of high-tech customer support saw its shares poke its head into new two-year highs in after-hours trading on Wednesday after posting better-than-expected quarterly results. LivePerson is also boosting its guidance, often the hallmark of a quarter well done. 

Revenue clocked in at $54.1 million for the fourth quarter, short of the $56.7 million it rang up a year earlier but comfortably ahead of the range of $51 million to $52 million that it was targeting for its top line back in mid-May. The bottom line is still a work in progress. It was another reported loss for LivePerson, and its adjusted profit of $0.01 a share matched the low end of its earlier guidance. 

The market's initial reaction is positive. The stock topped $12 for the first time since late 2014 following the earnings release, ahead of the earnings call.

Image source: LivePerson.

Baby steps 

LivePerson keeps signing up new deals, including some juicy tech bellwethers during the period. It landed 29 new customers during the quarter, inking 91 new deals overall during the period. Its trailing-12-month average revenue per enterprise and mid-market customer is holding steady at $205,000. With total revenue still trickling lower on a year-over-year basis, it's a safe assumption that it's losing a fair share of accounts as well.

The last time LivePerson shares were trading this high, the company was working on an impressive streak of 51 consecutive quarters of sequential revenue growth. The streak was snapped during the second quarter of 2015, and it hasn't been able to get a new run going since then -- following up any period of sequential growth with a decline the following quarter. We'll see if it can break out of that funk in the current quarter after the second quarter's sequential top-line uptick. Its guidance calls for $54 million to $55 million in revenue for the third quarter, giving it a good chance to post back-to-back quarters of sequential growth for the first time in more than two years. LivePerson is also targeting adjusted earnings of $0.04 to $0.06 a share.

Guidance for all of 2017 is also heading higher. LivePerson is now forecasting revenue of $213 million to $216 million this year, up significantly from the $204 million to $209 million that it was projecting two months ago. Its adjusted profit outlook for 2017 is roughly in line with where it's been the past two quarters. 

LivePerson's stock is hot. The shares have more than doubled since bottoming out in February, more than tripling since hitting new lows in early 2016. There's a lack of seasonality in LivePerson's business, so its ability to achieve sequential growth in the current quarter -- its first potential streak of top-line growth in 10 quarters -- will go a long way in justifying the stock's recent gains.  

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