While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Covenant Transportation Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:CVTI) share price up 26% in a single quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last year have been less than pleasing. After all, the share price is down 43% in the last year, significantly under-performing the market.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Unhappily, Covenant Transportation Group had to report a 44% decline in EPS over the last year. Remarkably, he share price decline of 43% per year is particularly close to the EPS drop. Therefore one could posit that the market has not become more concerned about the company, despite the lower EPS. Instead, the change in the share price seems to reduction in earnings per share, alone.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Covenant Transportation Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 3.4% in the last year, Covenant Transportation Group shareholders lost 43%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Regrettably, last year's performance caps off a bad run, with the shareholders facing a total loss of 0.1% per year over five years. 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. 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.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
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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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.