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Despite shrinking by US$128m in the past week, NetScout Systems (NASDAQ:NTCT) shareholders are still up 51% over 3 years

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One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. Just take a look at NetScout Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTCT), which is up 51%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 39% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 22%.

Since the long term performance has been good but there's been a recent pullback of 5.0%, let's check if the fundamentals match the share price.

See our latest analysis for NetScout Systems

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.

NetScout Systems became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.

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

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

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. 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 NetScout Systems has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 22% in the last twelve months. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 0.4% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 NetScout Systems you should know about.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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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