When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. For instance, the price of ASGN Incorporated (NYSE:ASGN) stock is up an impressive 101% over the last five years. On top of that, the share price is up 13% in about a quarter. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 11% in 90 days).
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. 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 five years of share price growth, ASGN achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 26% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 15% over the same period. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.
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 ASGN's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
ASGN shareholders are down 17% for the year, but the market itself is up 12%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 15%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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.