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LATEST UPDATE:

NO WEEKLY BRIEF NEWSLETTER FOR THE WEEKEND OF OCT. 16-17

The 3.8% return this week takes Exelixis' (NASDAQ:EXEL) shareholders five-year gains to 39%

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The main point of investing for the long term is to make money. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL) share price is up 39% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 23% in the last year.

Since the stock has added US$239m to its market cap in the past week alone, let's see if underlying performance has been driving long-term returns.

See our latest analysis for Exelixis

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 five years of share price growth, Exelixis moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Exelixis' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 36% in the last year, Exelixis shareholders lost 23%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 7%, each year, over five years. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Exelixis .

Of course Exelixis 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.

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.

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

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