These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the Altair Engineering Inc. (NASDAQ:ALTR) share price is up 23% in the last year, clearly besting than the market return of around 5.5% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! Altair Engineering hasn't been listed for long, so it's still not clear if it is a long term winner.
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. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the last year Altair Engineering grew its earnings per share, moving from a loss to a profit. When a company is just on the edge of profitability it can be well worth considering other metrics in order to more precisely gauge growth (and therefore understand share price movements).
We think that the revenue growth of 11% could have some investors interested. We do see some companies suppress earnings in order to accelerate revenue growth.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized 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. You can see what analysts are predicting for Altair Engineering in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Altair Engineering shareholders have gained 23% over the last year. And the share price momentum remains respectable, with a gain of 8.7% in the last three months. Demand for the stock from multiple parties is pushing the price higher; it could be that word is getting out about its virtues as a business. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
Of course Altair Engineering may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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 email@example.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.