In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But the main game is to find enough winners to more than offset the losers So we wouldn't blame long term Sprouts Farmers Market, Inc. (NASDAQ:SFM) shareholders for doubting their decision to hold, with the stock down 33% over a half decade. Furthermore, it's down 13% in about a quarter. That's not much fun for holders.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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.
While the share price declined over five years, Sprouts Farmers Market actually managed to increase EPS by an average of 26% per year. Given the share price reaction, one might suspect that EPS is not a good guide to the business performance during the period (perhaps due to a one-off loss or gain). Or possibly, the market was previously very optimistic, so the stock has disappointed, despite improving EPS. Due to the lack of correlation between the EPS growth and the falling share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movement.
In contrast to the share price, revenue has actually increased by 15% a year in the five year period. So it seems one might have to take closer look at the fundamentals to understand why the share price languishes. After all, there may be an opportunity.
The chart below shows how revenue and earnings have changed with time, (if you click on the chart you can see the actual values).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. If you are thinking of buying or selling Sprouts Farmers Market stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market gained around 9.3% in the last year, Sprouts Farmers Market shareholders lost 11%. 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. Unfortunately, last year's performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 7.7% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should 'buy when there is blood on the streets', but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.