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Did Business Growth Power Axcelis Technologies's (NASDAQ:ACLS) Share Price Gain of 195%?

Simply Wall St

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. Long term Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACLS) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 195% in five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 19% gain in the last three months. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 11% in the last three months.

See our latest analysis for Axcelis Technologies

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.

During the last half decade, Axcelis Technologies became profitable. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. Indeed, the Axcelis Technologies share price has gained 81% in three years. In the same period, EPS is up 40% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 22% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. So you might conclude the market is a little more cautious about the stock, these days.

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

NasdaqGS:ACLS Past and Future Earnings, April 24th 2019

We know that Axcelis Technologies has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? If you are thinking of buying or selling Axcelis Technologies stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Axcelis Technologies had a tough year, with a total loss of 5.0%, against a market gain of about 12%. 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 24% 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. 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.

But note: Axcelis Technologies 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.

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.