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Investing in Xref (ASX:XF1) a year ago would have delivered you a 236% gain

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Unfortunately, investing is risky - companies can and do go bankrupt. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For example, the Xref Limited (ASX:XF1) share price had more than doubled in just one year - up 236%. And in the last month, the share price has gained 42%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 19% in the last three years.

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.

View our latest analysis for Xref

We don't think that Xref's modest trailing twelve month profit has the market's full attention at the moment. We think revenue is probably a better guide. Generally speaking, we'd consider a stock like this alongside loss-making companies, simply because the quantum of the profit is so low. For shareholders to have confidence a company will grow profits significantly, it must grow revenue.

In the last year Xref saw its revenue grow by 56%. That's well above most other pre-profit companies. And the share price has responded, gaining 236% as we previously mentioned. It's great to see strong revenue growth, but the question is whether it can be sustained. The strong share price rise indicates optimism, so there may be a better opportunity for buyers as the hype fades a bit.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. 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 Xref's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Xref has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 236% in the last twelve months. That's better than the annualised return of 3% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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 instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Xref (1 doesn't sit too well with us) that you should be aware of.

Xref is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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

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.

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