The US Ecology (NASDAQ:ECOL) Share Price Has Gained 50% And Shareholders Are Hoping For More

US Ecology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ECOL) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 15% in the last quarter. On the bright side the share price is up over the last half decade. However we are not very impressed because the share price is only up 50%, less than the market return of 59%.

Check out our latest analysis for US Ecology

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During five years of share price growth, US Ecology achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 5.6% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 8.4% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

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

NasdaqGS:ECOL Past and Future Earnings, March 17th 2019
NasdaqGS:ECOL Past and Future Earnings, March 17th 2019

We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on US Ecology’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for US Ecology the TSR over the last 5 years was 61%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

US Ecology shareholders gained a total return of 2.3% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 10% a year, over half a decade) look better. It’s quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. Before spending more time on US Ecology it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

We will like US Ecology 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.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.