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Can You Imagine How Jubilant Navient's (NASDAQ:NAVI) Shareholders Feel About Its 105% Share Price Gain?

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·3 min read
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When you buy shares in a company, there is always a risk that the price drops to zero. On the other hand, if you find a high quality business to buy (at the right price) you can more than double your money! For example, the Navient Corporation (NASDAQ:NAVI) share price has soared 105% in the last year. Most would be very happy with that, especially in just one year! It's also good to see the share price up 38% over the last quarter. Having said that, the longer term returns aren't so impressive, with stock gaining just 17% in three years.

See our latest analysis for Navient

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 the last year, Navient actually saw its earnings per share drop 17%.

Given the share price gain, we doubt the market is measuring progress with EPS. Indeed, when EPS is declining but the share price is up, it often means the market is considering other factors.

Absent any improvement, we don't think a thirst for dividends is pushing up the Navient's share price. Revenue actually dropped 12% over last year. It's fair to say we're a little surprised to see the share price up, and that makes us cautious.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

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. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Navient, it has a TSR of 120% for the last year. 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

We're pleased to report that Navient shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 120% over one year. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 9% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Navient (at least 2 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.