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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 Aspen Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:AZPN) which saw its share price drive 114% higher over five years. But it's down 7.3% in the last week. However, this might be related to the overall market decline of 0.7% in a week.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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 five years of share price growth, Aspen Technology achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 22% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 16% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Aspen Technology's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
Aspen Technology shareholders are down 29% for the year, but the market itself is up 7.6%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 16%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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 2 warning signs for Aspen Technology that you should be aware of.
Of course Aspen Technology 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.
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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