The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For example, the Charles River Laboratories International, Inc. (NYSE:CRL) share price has soared 147% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. On top of that, the share price is up 33% in about a quarter. But this move may well have been assisted by the reasonably buoyant market (up 17% in 90 days).
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.
Over half a decade, Charles River Laboratories International managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 20% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Charles River Laboratories International has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 34% in the last twelve months. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 20%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Charles River Laboratories International better, we need to consider many other factors. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for Charles River Laboratories International that you should be aware of before investing here.
But note: Charles River Laboratories International may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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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