It's been a soft week for Cree, Inc. (NASDAQ:CREE) shares, which are down 13%. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last half decade have been spectacular. In fact, during that period, the share price climbed 328%. Impressive! So it might be that some shareholders are taking profits after good performance. But the real question is whether the business fundamentals can improve over the long term.
Cree wasn't profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we'll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. As you can imagine, fast revenue growth, when maintained, often leads to fast profit growth.
In the last 5 years Cree saw its revenue shrink by 14% per year. This is in stark contrast to the strong share price growth of 34%, compound, per year. There can be no doubt this kind of decoupling of revenue growth and share price growth is unusual to see in loss making companies. At the risk of upsetting holders, this does suggest that hope for a better future is playing a significant role in the share price action.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling Cree stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Cree has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 150% in the last twelve months. That's better than the annualised return of 34% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Cree you should be aware of.
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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