Career Education Corporation (NASDAQ:CECO) shareholders have seen the share price descend 21% over the month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been very strong. It's fair to say most would be happy with 210% the gain in that time. We think it's more important to dwell on the long term returns than the short term returns. The more important question is whether the stock is too cheap or too expensive today.
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 last half decade, Career Education 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.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Career Education has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Career Education shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 8.8% over the last year. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 25% a year, is even better. The pessimistic view would be that be that the stock has its best days behind it, but on the other hand the price might simply be moderating while the business itself continues to execute. Before spending more time on Career Education it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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.