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Is Environmental Group's (ASX:EGL) Share Price Gain Of 111% Well Earned?

Simply Wall St

When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For instance, the price of The Environmental Group Limited (ASX:EGL) stock is up an impressive 111% over the last five years. In contrast, the stock has fallen 9.5% in the last 30 days.

See our latest analysis for Environmental Group

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).

During five years of share price growth, Environmental Group actually saw its EPS drop 19% per year.

Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

The modest 1.6% dividend yield is unlikely to be propping up the share price. In contrast revenue growth of 7.6% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Environmental Group is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

ASX:EGL Income Statement, January 13th 2020

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Environmental Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Environmental Group, it has a TSR of 136% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 25% in the last year, Environmental Group shareholders lost 38% (even including dividends) . 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 19% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. If you would like to research Environmental Group in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

We will like Environmental Group better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.