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Did Business Growth Power AutoZone's (NYSE:AZO) Share Price Gain of 109%?

Simply Wall St

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When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For example, the AutoZone, Inc. (NYSE:AZO) share price has soared 109% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 16% gain in the last three months. The company reported its financial results recently; you can catch up on the latest numbers by reading our company report.

View our latest analysis for AutoZone

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Over half a decade, AutoZone managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 16% 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 five years ago. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

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

NYSE:AZO Past and Future Earnings, June 12th 2019

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of AutoZone's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that AutoZone shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 59% over one year. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 16%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

Of course AutoZone 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.

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.