If You Had Bought Providence Service (NASDAQ:PRSC) Stock Five Years Ago, You Could Pocket A 64% Gain Today

Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the The Providence Service Corporation (NASDAQ:PRSC) share price is 64% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. In stark contrast, the stock price has actually fallen 0.8% in the last year.

See our latest analysis for Providence Service

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During five years of share price growth, Providence Service moved from a loss to profitability. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. So it might be better to look at other metrics to try to understand the share price.

We are not particularly impressed by the annual compound revenue growth of 1.5% over five years. So why is the share price up? It’s not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company’s progress over time might yield answers.

The company’s revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NasdaqGS:PRSC Income Statement, January 7th 2020
NasdaqGS:PRSC Income Statement, January 7th 2020

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 29% in the last year, Providence Service shareholders lost 0.8%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 10% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.