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 instance, the price of Arista Networks, Inc. (NYSE:ANET) stock is up an impressive 213% over the last five years. In more good news, the share price has risen 2.4% in thirty days.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Arista Networks achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 51% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 26% over the same period. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It is of course excellent to see how Arista Networks has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
A Different Perspective
While the broader market lost about 11% in the twelve months, Arista Networks shareholders did even worse, losing 35%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 26% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Arista Networks (1 is significant) that you should be aware of.
But note: Arista Networks 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.
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.
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. Thank you for reading.