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Is Inogen's (NASDAQ:INGN) 124% Share Price Increase Well Justified?

Simply Wall St

Inogen, Inc. (NASDAQ:INGN) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 24% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that shareholders have received really good returns over the last five years. It's fair to say most would be happy with 124% the gain in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price. Unfortunately not all shareholders will have held it for the long term, so spare a thought for those caught in the 77% decline over the last twelve months.

View our latest analysis for Inogen

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

Over half a decade, Inogen managed to grow its earnings per share at 38% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 17% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NasdaqGS:INGN Past and Future Earnings, October 7th 2019
NasdaqGS:INGN Past and Future Earnings, October 7th 2019

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 3.7% in the last year, Inogen shareholders lost 77%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 17%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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.

Inogen 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.

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.