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Imagine Owning Cars.com (NYSE:CARS) While The Price Tanked 62%

Simply Wall St

The nature of investing is that you win some, and you lose some. And unfortunately for Cars.com Inc. (NYSE:CARS) shareholders, the stock is a lot lower today than it was a year ago. The share price has slid 62% in that time. Cars.com may have better days ahead, of course; we've only looked at a one year period. Furthermore, it's down 55% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.

View our latest analysis for Cars.com

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 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).

Unfortunately Cars.com reported an EPS drop of 94% for the last year. The share price fall of 62% isn't as bad as the reduction in earnings per share. So despite the weak per-share profits, some investors are probably relieved the situation wasn't more difficult. Indeed, with a P/E ratio of 65.73 there is obviously some real optimism that earnings will bounce back.

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

NYSE:CARS Past and Future Earnings, October 11th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

Given that the market gained 8.1% in the last year, Cars.com shareholders might be miffed that they lost 62%. While the aim is to do better than that, it's worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. With the stock down 55% over the last three months, the market doesn't seem to believe that the company has solved all its problems. Basically, most investors should be wary of buying into a poor-performing stock, unless the business itself has clearly improved. 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.

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.

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.