The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. For example, the Card Factory plc (LON:CARD) share price is up 61% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market decline of around 5.8% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. However, the stock hasn't done so well in the longer term, with the stock only up 3.0% in three years.
Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.
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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the last year Card Factory grew its earnings per share, moving from a loss to a profit.
When a company is just on the edge of profitability it can be well worth considering other metrics in order to more precisely gauge growth (and therefore understand share price movements).
However the year on year revenue growth of 48% would help. Many businesses do go through a phase where they have to forgo some profits to drive business development, and sometimes its for the best.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Card Factory will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Card Factory shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 61% over the last year. That certainly beats the loss of about 8% per year over the last half decade. This makes us a little wary, but the business might have turned around its fortunes. 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.
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 GB exchanges.
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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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