Howard Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:HBMD) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 18% in the last quarter. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. In fact, the share price is down 26% in the last three years, falling well short of the market return.
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.
Howard Bancorp saw its share price decline over the three years in which its EPS also dropped, falling to a loss. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earnings. Due to the loss, it's not easy to use EPS as a reliable guide to the business. However, we can say we'd expect to see a falling share price in this scenario.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has 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. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Howard Bancorp's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Howard Bancorp had a tough year, with a total loss of 23%, against a market gain of about 27%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 3%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Howard Bancorp you should be aware of.
Howard Bancorp is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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