Zovio Inc (NASDAQ:ZVO) shareholders are doubtless heartened to see the share price bounce 32% in just one week. But will that repair the damage for the weary investors who have owned this stock as it declined over half a decade? Probably not. In fact, the share price has tumbled down a mountain to land 79% lower after that period. It's true that the recent bounce could signal the company is turning over a new leaf, but we are not so sure. The real question is whether the business can leave its past behind and improve itself over the years ahead.
Zovio wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. Some companies are willing to postpone profitability to grow revenue faster, but in that case one does expect good top-line growth.
Over half a decade Zovio reduced its trailing twelve month revenue by 8.8% for each year. That's definitely a weaker result than most pre-profit companies report. So it's not altogether surprising to see the share price down 27% per year in the same time period. We don't think this is a particularly promising picture. Ironically, that behavior could create an opportunity for the contrarian investor - but only if there are good reasons to predict a brighter future.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. If you are thinking of buying or selling Zovio stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 22% in the last year, Zovio 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 27% over the last half decade. Generally speaking long term share price weakness can be a bad sign, though contrarian investors might want to research the stock in hope of a turnaround. 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 4 warning signs with Zovio , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are 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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