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Did Sotheby's's (NYSE:BID) Share Price Deserve to Gain 49%?

Simply Wall St

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Vanguard founder Jack Bogle helped spearhead the low-cost index fund, putting average returns within reach of every investor. But you can make better returns by buying undervalued shares. Notably, the Sotheby's (NYSE:BID) share price has gained 49% in three years, which is better than the average market return. In contrast, the stock is actually down 26% in the last year, suggesting a lack of positive momentum.

See our latest analysis for Sotheby's

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 three years of share price growth, Sotheby's achieved compound earnings per share growth of 49% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 14% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NYSE:BID Past and Future Earnings, May 3rd 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

Investors in Sotheby's had a tough year, with a total loss of 26%, against a market gain of about 10%. 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 0.3% 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. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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.