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When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of USA Truck, Inc. (NASDAQ:USAK) stock is up an impressive 186% over the last five years. It's also up 46% in about a month. We note that USA Truck reported its financial results recently; luckily, you can catch up on the latest revenue and profit numbers in our company report.
With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
During the last half decade, USA Truck became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. Indeed, the USA Truck share price has gained 48% in three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 25% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 14% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 9.02.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that USA Truck has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think USA Truck will grow revenue in the future.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that USA Truck shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 82% over one year. That's better than the annualised return of 23% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for USA Truck (1 doesn't sit too well with us!) that you should be aware of before investing here.
We will like USA Truck better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.