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Did Heartland Express's (NASDAQ:HTLD) Share Price Deserve to Gain 13%?

Simply Wall St

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The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But you can significantly boost your returns by picking above-average stocks. To wit, the Heartland Express, Inc. (NASDAQ:HTLD) share price is 13% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 9.4% (not including dividends) in the same period. That's a solid performance by our standards! Having said that, the longer term returns aren't so impressive, with stock gaining just 9.9% in three years.

View our latest analysis for Heartland Express

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...' 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 year Heartland Express grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 4.4%. The share price gain of 13% certainly outpaced the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it a year ago.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NasdaqGS:HTLD Past and Future Earnings, May 1st 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Heartland Express's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Heartland Express shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 13% over one year. And that does include the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 1.0% per year over five years. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. 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 Heartland Express by clicking this link.

Heartland Express is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.