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If You Had Bought Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ:ZBRA) Stock Five Years Ago, You Could Pocket A 397% Gain Today

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Simply Wall St
·3 min read
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We think all investors should try to buy and hold high quality multi-year winners. While not every stock performs well, when investors win, they can win big. For example, the Zebra Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:ZBRA) share price is up a whopping 397% in the last half decade, a handsome return for long term holders. This just goes to show the value creation that some businesses can achieve. And in the last month, the share price has gained 4.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Zebra Technologies

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the last half decade, Zebra Technologies became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. Indeed, the Zebra Technologies share price has gained 246% in three years. During the same period, EPS grew by 150% each year. This EPS growth is higher than the 51% 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).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It is of course excellent to see how Zebra Technologies has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. 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 Zebra Technologies has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 51% in the last twelve months. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 38% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for Zebra Technologies you should know about.

We will like Zebra Technologies better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.