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It's easy to match the overall market return by buying an index fund. Active investors aim to buy stocks that vastly outperform the market - but in the process, they risk under-performance. That downside risk was realized by Laureate Education, Inc. (NASDAQ:LAUR) shareholders over the last year, as the share price declined 20%. That falls noticeably short of the market return of around 46%. The silver lining (for longer term investors) is that the stock is still 2.2% higher than it was three years ago.
Laureate Education wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That's because it's hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
In just one year Laureate Education saw its revenue fall by 17%. That's not what investors generally want to see. The stock price has languished lately, falling 20% in a year. That seems pretty reasonable given the lack of both profits and revenue growth. It's hard to escape the conclusion that buyers must envision either growth down the track, cost cutting, or both.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
A Different Perspective
The last twelve months weren't great for Laureate Education shares, which cost holders 20%, while the market was up about 46%. Of course the long term matters more than the short term, and even great stocks will sometimes have a poor year. Investors are up over three years, booking 0.7% per year, much better than the more recent returns. The recent sell-off could be an opportunity if the business remains sound, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long-term growth trend. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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