The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Ambac Financial Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMBC) share price is 33% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 18% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. Unfortunately the longer term returns are not so good, with the stock falling 21% in the last three years.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 Ambac Financial Group saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop below zero. While this may prove temporary, we'd consider it a negative, so we would not have expected to see the share price up. It may be that the company has done well on other metrics.
Unfortunately Ambac Financial Group's fell 24% over twelve months. So using a snapshot of key business metrics doesn't give us a good picture of why the market is bidding up the stock.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Ambac Financial Group
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Ambac Financial Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 33% in the last twelve months. That certainly beats the loss of about 1.2% per year over the last half decade. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. 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.
Ambac Financial Group 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.
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.
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.