The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is U.S. Physical Therapy, Inc. (NYSE:USPH) which saw its share price drive 169% higher over five years. On top of that, the share price is up 28% in about a quarter.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Over half a decade, U.S. Physical Therapy managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.8% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 22% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth. This optimism is visible in its fairly high P/E ratio of 58.26.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of U.S. Physical Therapy's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We've already covered U.S. Physical Therapy's share price action, but we should also mention its total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. Its history of dividend payouts mean that U.S. Physical Therapy's TSR of 182% over the last 5 years is better than the share price return.
A Different Perspective
U.S. Physical Therapy provided a TSR of 5.6% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 23% per year for five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. 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. Take risks, for example - U.S. Physical Therapy has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
U.S. Physical Therapy 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.
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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