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Investors in ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) have made a solid return of 210% over the past five years

It hasn't been the best quarter for ServiceNow, Inc. (NYSE:NOW) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 22% in that time. But that scarcely detracts from the really solid long term returns generated by the company over five years. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 210% in that time. So while it's never fun to see a share price fall, it's important to look at a longer time horizon. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean it's cheap now. While the long term returns are impressive, we do have some sympathy for those who bought more recently, given the 40% drop, in the last year.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

Check out our latest analysis for ServiceNow

We don't think that ServiceNow's modest trailing twelve month profit has the market's full attention at the moment. We think revenue is probably a better guide. As a general rule, we think this kind of company is more comparable to loss-making stocks, since the actual profit is so low. For shareholders to have confidence a company will grow profits significantly, it must grow revenue.

In the last 5 years ServiceNow saw its revenue grow at 27% per year. Even measured against other revenue-focussed companies, that's a good result. Meanwhile, its share price performance certainly reflects the strong growth, given the share price grew at 25% per year, compound, during the period. This suggests the market has well and truly recognized the progress the business has made. To our minds that makes ServiceNow worth investigating - it may have its best days ahead.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on ServiceNow

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that ServiceNow shareholders are down 40% for the year. Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 22%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 25% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand ServiceNow better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - ServiceNow has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.

ServiceNow is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with 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.

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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