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Investing in Rakon (NZSE:RAK) five years ago would have delivered you a 412% gain

Long term investing can be life changing when you buy and hold the truly great businesses. While the best companies are hard to find, but they can generate massive returns over long periods. To wit, the Rakon Limited (NZSE:RAK) share price has soared 412% over five years. If that doesn't get you thinking about long term investing, we don't know what will. And in the last week the share price has popped 4.9%.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

View our latest analysis for Rakon

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 the last half decade, Rakon 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. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Rakon share price is up 392% in the last three years. Meanwhile, EPS is up 114% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 70% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 8.77.

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

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

It is of course excellent to see how Rakon has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.

A Different Perspective

Although it hurts that Rakon returned a loss of 12% in the last twelve months, the broader market was actually worse, returning a loss of 15%. Of course, the long term returns are far more important and the good news is that over five years, the stock has returned 39% for each year. It could be that the business is just facing some short term problems, but shareholders should keep a close eye on the fundamentals. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.

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 NZ exchanges.

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

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.

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