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The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For instance, the price of Energy Recovery, Inc. (NASDAQ:ERII) stock is up an impressive 134% over the last five years. It's also good to see the share price up 58% over the last quarter.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the last half decade, Energy Recovery became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Energy Recovery share price is up 65% in the last three years. In the same period, EPS is up 39% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 18% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. This free interactive report on Energy Recovery's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Energy Recovery has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 40% in the last twelve months. That's better than the annualised return of 19% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Energy Recovery (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
We will like Energy Recovery better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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