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Should Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) Be Disappointed With Their 52% Profit?

Simply Wall St

Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But you can do a lot better than that by buying good quality businesses for attractive prices. For example, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) share price is up 52% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. In stark contrast, the stock price has actually fallen 2.9% in the last year.

View our latest analysis for Berkshire Hathaway

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

Over half a decade, Berkshire Hathaway managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.5% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 8.8% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:BRK.A Past and Future Earnings, October 10th 2019

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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Berkshire Hathaway's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 6.6% in the last year, Berkshire Hathaway shareholders lost 2.9%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 8.8% per year over half a decade. 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. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Berkshire Hathaway by clicking this link.

Berkshire Hathaway 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.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.