The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But if you buy shares in a really great company, you can more than double your money. To wit, the The L.S. Starrett Company (NYSE:SCX) share price has flown 247% in the last three years. How nice for those who held the stock! In the last week shares have slid back 2.9%.
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.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 three years of share price growth, L.S. Starrett moved from a loss to profitability. Given the importance of this milestone, it's not overly surprising that the share price has increased strongly.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
This free interactive report on L.S. Starrett's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
A Different Perspective
L.S. Starrett provided a TSR of 10% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 12% a year, over half a decade) look better. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with L.S. Starrett .
Of course L.S. Starrett 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 American 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.