Did You Miss Trimble's (NASDAQ:TRMB) 72% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. To wit, the Trimble share price has climbed 72% in five years, easily topping the market return of 56% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 20%.

Check out our latest analysis for Trimble

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 five years of share price growth, Trimble achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 8.8% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 11% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NasdaqGS:TRMB Past and Future Earnings, January 17th 2020

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

A Different Perspective

Trimble shareholders are up 20% for the year. But that was short of the market average. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 11% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. 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 1 warning sign for Trimble you should know about.

Of course Trimble 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.