When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, long term EXFO Inc. (TSE:EXF) shareholders have enjoyed a 50% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 21% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 34% in the last year.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
We know that EXFO has been profitable in the past. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. So we might find other metrics can better explain the share price movements.
In contrast revenue growth of 5.3% per year is probably viewed as evidence that EXFO is growing, a real positive. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that EXFO has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 34% in the last twelve months. That's better than the annualised return of 8.4% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. If you would like to research EXFO in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
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 CA 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.