HealthEquity, Inc. (NASDAQ:HQY) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 15% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been very strong. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 193% in that time. To some, the recent pullback wouldn't be surprising after such a fast rise. Ultimately business performance will determine whether the stock price continues the positive long term trend. While the long term returns are impressive, we do have some sympathy for those who bought more recently, given the 41% drop, in the last year.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the five years of share price growth, HealthEquity moved from a loss to profitability. 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. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. We can see that the HealthEquity share price is up 46% in the last three years. During the same period, EPS grew by 52% each year. This EPS growth is higher than the 14% 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 image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free interactive report on HealthEquity's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
HealthEquity shareholders are down 41% for the year, but the market itself is up 1.9%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 24%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
HealthEquity is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.