The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But in contrast you can make much more than 100% if the company does well. To wit, the IQE plc (LON:IQE) share price has flown 243% in the last three years. That sort of return is as solid as granite. Meanwhile the share price is 2.5% higher than it was a week ago.
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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During the three years of share price growth, IQE actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 65% per year. This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
It may well be that IQE revenue growth rate of 11% over three years has convinced shareholders to believe in a brighter future. If the company is being managed for the long term good, today's shareholders might be right to hold on.
The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.
Balance sheet strength is crucual. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
A Different Perspective
IQE shareholders are down 35% for the year, but the market itself is up 5.5%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 26% 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. Shareholders might want to examine this detailed historical graph of past earnings, revenue and cash flow.
Of course IQE 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 GB 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 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. Thank you for reading.