The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. Long term AppFolio, Inc. (NASDAQ:APPF) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 169% in five years. On the other hand, we note it's down 9.9% in about a month.
While the stock has fallen 5.6% this week, it's worth focusing on the longer term and seeing if the stocks historical returns have been driven by the underlying fundamentals.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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, AppFolio achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 3.0% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 22% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
A Different Perspective
While it's never nice to take a loss, AppFolio shareholders can take comfort that their trailing twelve month loss of 8.4% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 18%. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 22%, each year, over five years. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we've identified 1 warning sign for AppFolio that you should be aware of.
We will like AppFolio 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.
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This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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