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When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. Better yet, you'd like to see the share price move up more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) share price is up 45% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 12% in the last year.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
Over half a decade, Gartner managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.0% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 8% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This optimism is visible in its fairly high P/E ratio of 46.86.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Gartner's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Gartner had a tough year, with a total loss of 12%, against a market gain of about 19%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 8% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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 2 warning signs with Gartner , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
Gartner 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.
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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