The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For instance, the price of Huron Consulting Group Inc. (NASDAQ:HURN) stock is up an impressive 118% over the last five years. On top of that, the share price is up 16% in about a quarter.
After a strong gain in the past week, it's worth seeing if longer term returns have been driven by improving fundamentals.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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, Huron Consulting Group 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. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Huron Consulting Group share price is up 74% in the last three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 31% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 20% 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.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We know that Huron Consulting Group has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Huron Consulting Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 56% over the last year. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 17% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Huron Consulting Group that you should be aware of.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on American 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.
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