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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 the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. One great example is AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) which saw its share price drive 256% higher over five years. It's also good to see the share price up 30% over the last quarter.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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, AeroVironment achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 32% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 29% per year. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
This free interactive report on AeroVironment's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that AeroVironment shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 33% over the last year. That's better than the annualised return of 29% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for AeroVironment that you should be aware of.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can 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.
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. 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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