For many, the main point of investing in the stock market is to achieve spectacular returns. And highest quality companies can see their share prices grow by huge amounts. To wit, the IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. (NASDAQ:IDXX) share price has soared 347% over five years. And this is just one example of the epic gains achieved by some long term investors.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.
During five years of share price growth, IDEXX Laboratories achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 20% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 35% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 57.79.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of IDEXX Laboratories's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that IDEXX Laboratories shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 9.1% over the last year. However, that falls short of the 35% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. 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.