United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE:UNFI) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 17% in the last quarter. But that doesn't detract from the splendid returns of the last year. Like an eagle, the share price soared 138% in that time. So it may be that the share price is simply cooling off after a strong rise. Investors should be wondering whether the business itself has the fundamental value required to continue to drive gains.
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. 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 last year United Natural Foods grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 14%. Though we do note extraordinary items affected the bottom line. The share price gain of 138% certainly outpaced the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it a year ago.
You can see how EPS has 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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on United Natural Foods' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that United Natural Foods shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 138% over the last year. Notably the five-year annualised TSR loss of 11% per year compares very unfavourably with the recent share price performance. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with United Natural Foods (at least 1 which can't be ignored) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.
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 US exchanges.
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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. 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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