The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of CyberArk Software Ltd. (NASDAQ:CYBR) stock is up an impressive 176% over the last five years. And in the last month, the share price has gained 3.4%. But the price may well have benefitted from a buoyant market, since stocks have gained 13% in the last thirty days.
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 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 five years of share price growth, CyberArk Software actually saw its EPS drop 34% per year.
Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. 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.
In contrast revenue growth of 22% per year is probably viewed as evidence that CyberArk Software is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
CyberArk Software is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. Given we have quite a good number of analyst forecasts, it might be well worth checking out this free chart depicting consensus estimates.
A Different Perspective
Investors in CyberArk Software had a tough year, with a total loss of 7.6%, against a market gain of about 24%. 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 23% 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. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 3 warning signs for CyberArk Software you should know about.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
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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CyberArk Software Ltd., together with its subsidiaries, develops, markets, and sales software-based security solutions and services in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and internationally.
Mediocre balance sheet with concerning outlook.