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Investing in EKF Diagnostics Holdings (LON:EKF) five years ago would have delivered you a 111% gain

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EKF Diagnostics Holdings plc (LON:EKF) shareholders might understandably be very concerned that the share price has dropped 44% in the last quarter. On the bright side the returns have been quite good over the last half decade. It has returned a market beating 68% in that time.

With that in mind, it’s worth seeing if the company’s underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

See our latest analysis for EKF Diagnostics Holdings

To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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 half decade, EKF Diagnostics Holdings became profitable. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it’s worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. In fact, the EKF Diagnostics Holdings stock price is 3.3% lower in the last three years. In the same period, EPS is up 16% per year. It would appear there’s a real mismatch between the increasing EPS and the share price, which has declined -1.1% a year for three years.

The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-per-share-growth

We know that EKF Diagnostics Holdings has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? You could check out this free report showing analyst revenue forecasts.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for EKF Diagnostics Holdings the TSR over the last 5 years was 111%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

EKF Diagnostics Holdings shareholders are down 52% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 3.0%. 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 16% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. For example, we’ve discovered 3 warning signs for EKF Diagnostics Holdings (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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.