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Should Koppers Holdings Be Disappointed With Their 43% Profit?

Simply Wall St

Vanguard founder Jack Bogle helped spearhead the low-cost index fund, putting average returns within reach of every investor. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. Notably, the Koppers Holdings Inc. (NYSE:KOP) share price has gained 43% in three years, which is better than the average market return. The bad news is that the share price seems to lack positive momentum recently, since it has dropped 37% in the last year.

View our latest analysis for Koppers Holdings

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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).

During three years of share price growth, Koppers Holdings moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NYSE:KOP Past and Future Earnings, March 5th 2019

It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s 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

Investors in Koppers Holdings had a tough year, with a total loss of 37%, against a market gain of about 4.0%. 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. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7.9% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. 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.

Koppers Holdings 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.