NETGEAR, Inc. (NASDAQ:NTGR) shareholders should be happy to see the share price up 12% in the last month. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last three years have been less than pleasing. Truth be told the share price declined 51% in three years and that return, Dear Reader, falls short of what you could have got from passive investing with an index fund.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, NETGEAR moved from a loss to profitability. We would usually expect to see the share price rise as a result. So it's worth looking at other metrics to try to understand the share price move.
We think that the revenue decline over three years, at a rate of 11% per year, probably had some shareholders looking to sell. After all, if revenue keeps shrinking, it may be difficult to find earnings growth in the future.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that NETGEAR has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think NETGEAR will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
What about the Total Shareholder Return (TSR)?
We'd be remiss not to mention the difference between NETGEAR's total shareholder return (TSR) and its share price return. The TSR attempts to capture the value of dividends (as if they were reinvested) as well as any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings offered to shareholders. NETGEAR hasn't been paying dividends, but its TSR of -22% exceeds its share price return of -51%, implying it has either spun-off a business, or raised capital at a discount; thereby providing additional value to shareholders.
A Different Perspective
NETGEAR shareholders are down 30% for the year, but the market itself is up 27%. 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 4.6% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand NETGEAR better, we need to consider many other factors. Be aware that NETGEAR is showing 2 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those can't be ignored...
Of course NETGEAR may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.
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