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Investors in Teradyne (NASDAQ:TER) have made a impressive return of 225% over the past five years

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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%. One great example is Teradyne, Inc. (NASDAQ:TER) which saw its share price drive 216% higher over five years. It's down 1.8% in the last seven days.

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

View our latest analysis for Teradyne

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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the five years of share price growth, Teradyne moved from a loss to profitability. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. 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. Indeed, the Teradyne share price has gained 138% in three years. In the same period, EPS is up 33% per year. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 33% average annual increase in the share price (over three years, again). So you could reasonably conclude that investor sentiment towards the stock has remained pretty steady, over time. Arguably the share price is reflecting the earnings per share.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It is of course excellent to see how Teradyne has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on Teradyne's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Teradyne the TSR over the last 5 years was 225%, 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

While the broader market lost about 11% in the twelve months, Teradyne shareholders did even worse, losing 18% (even including dividends). Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 27% 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. Is Teradyne cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.

But note: Teradyne may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

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. 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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