The total return for America's Car-Mart (NASDAQ:CRMT) investors has risen faster than earnings growth over the last five years

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 12, 2022
NasdaqGS:CRMT
Source: Shutterstock

It hasn't been the best quarter for America's Car-Mart, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRMT) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 14% in that time. But that doesn't change the fact that shareholders have received really good returns over the last five years. It's fair to say most would be happy with 126% the gain in that time. To some, the recent pullback wouldn't be surprising after such a fast rise. Only time will tell if there is still too much optimism currently reflected in the share price. Unfortunately not all shareholders will have held it for the long term, so spare a thought for those caught in the 22% decline over the last twelve months.

In light of the stock dropping 7.8% in the past week, we want to investigate the longer term story, and see if fundamentals have been the driver of the company's positive five-year return.

See our latest analysis for America's Car-Mart

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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, America's Car-Mart achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 48% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 18% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 5.74.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

earnings-per-share-growth
NasdaqGS:CRMT Earnings Per Share Growth January 12th 2022

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. This free interactive report on America's Car-Mart's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

Investors in America's Car-Mart had a tough year, with a total loss of 22%, against a market gain of about 16%. 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 18% 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. 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 4 warning signs for America's Car-Mart you should be aware of, and 3 of them are potentially serious.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

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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