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The truth is that if you invest for long enough, you’re going to end up with some losing stocks. Long term EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW) shareholders know that all too well, since the share price is down considerably over three years. Unfortunately, they have held through a 52% decline in the share price in that time. Furthermore, it’s down 20% in about a quarter. That’s not much fun for holders.

Check out our latest analysis for EZCORP

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.

EZCORP saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. Extraordinary items contributed to this situation. Since the company has fallen to a loss making position, it’s hard to compare the change in EPS with the share price change. But it’s safe to say we’d generally expect the share price to be lower as a result!

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth

We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 18% in the last year, EZCORP shareholders lost 9.9%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 4% over the last half decade. We realise that Baron Rothschild 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 business. 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. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for EZCORP you should be aware of.

We will like EZCORP 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.

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. 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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