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Aviat Networks' (NASDAQ:AVNW) investors will be pleased with their incredible 309% return over the last three years

It might be of some concern to shareholders to see the Aviat Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVNW) share price down 14% in the last month. But that doesn't displace its brilliant performance over three years. The longer term view reveals that the share price is up 309% in that period. So the recent fall doesn't do much to dampen our respect for the business. The only way to form a view of whether the current price is justified is to consider the merits of the business itself.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

Check out our latest analysis for Aviat Networks

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

During three years of share price growth, Aviat Networks achieved compound earnings per share growth of 28% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 60% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. It's not unusual to see the market 're-rate' a stock, after a few years of growth.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. 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, Aviat Networks shareholders can take comfort that their trailing twelve month loss of 20% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 23%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 27% for each year. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Aviat Networks you should know about.

Aviat Networks is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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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