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Did Business Growth Power Otelco's (NASDAQ:OTEL) Share Price Gain of 255%?

Simply Wall St

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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But if you buy shares in a really great company, you can more than double your money. For example, the Otelco Inc. (NASDAQ:OTEL) share price has soared 255% in the last three years. Most would be happy with that. In more good news, the share price has risen 3.2% in thirty days. But this could be related to good market conditions -- stocks in its market are up 5.0% in the last month.

Check out our latest analysis for Otelco

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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 three years of share price growth, Otelco achieved compound earnings per share growth of 6.5% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 53% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that, as the business progressed over the last few years, it gained the confidence of market participants. It's not unusual to see the market 're-rate' a stock, after a few years of growth.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NasdaqCM:OTEL Past and Future Earnings, April 8th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

Otelco's TSR for the year was broadly in line with the market average, at 12%. It has to be noted that the recent return falls short of the 27% shareholders have gained each year, over half a decade. More recently, the share price growth has slowed. But it has to be said the overall picture is one of good long term and short term performance. Arguably that makes Otelco a stock worth watching. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Otelco by clicking this link.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.