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SP Plus Corporation (NASDAQ:SP) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 22% in the last quarter. But that isn’t much consolation to those who have suffered through the declines of the last year. Like a receding glacier in a warming world, the share price has melted 57% in that period. It’s not that amazing to see a bounce after a drop like that. You could argue that the sell-off was too severe.

See our latest analysis for SP Plus

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 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.

During the last year SP Plus saw its earnings per share drop below zero. While this may prove temporary, we’d consider it a negative, so it doesn’t surprise us that the stock price is down. Of course, if the company can turn the situation around, investors will likely profit.

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

earnings-per-share-growth

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. This free interactive report on SP Plus’ earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

Investors in SP Plus had a tough year, with a total loss of 57%, against a market gain of about 18%. 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. 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 example, we’ve discovered 2 warning signs for SP Plus (1 is significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

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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