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How Important Was Sentiment In Driving a2 Milk's (NZSE:ATM) Fantastic 1722% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

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It might be of some concern to shareholders to see the The a2 Milk Company Limited (NZSE:ATM) share price down 14% in the last month. But that does not change the realty that the stock's performance has been terrific, over five years. In fact, during that period, the share price climbed 1722%. Impressive! So it might be that some shareholders are taking profits after good performance. Of course what matters most is whether the business can improve itself sustainably, thus justifying a higher price.

It really delights us to see such great share price performance for investors.

Check out our latest analysis for a2 Milk

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, a2 Milk achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 118% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 79% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NZSE:ATM Past and Future Earnings, June 7th 2019

It is of course excellent to see how a2 Milk has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. Take a more thorough look at a2 Milk's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that a2 Milk shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 25% over one year. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 79% per year, is even more impressive. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. Before spending more time on a2 Milk it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.

But note: a2 Milk 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 NZ 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.