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Vital Farms (NASDAQ:VITL) investors are sitting on a loss of 48% if they invested a year ago

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Passive investing in an index fund is a good way to ensure your own returns roughly match the overall market. While individual stocks can be big winners, plenty more fail to generate satisfactory returns. Investors in Vital Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ:VITL) have tasted that bitter downside in the last year, as the share price dropped 48%. That contrasts poorly with the market return of 35%. Vital Farms hasn't been listed for long, so although we're wary of recent listings that perform poorly, it may still prove itself with time.

So let's have a look and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

See our latest analysis for Vital Farms

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 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 unfortunate twelve months during which the Vital Farms share price fell, it actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) improve by 39%. It's quite possible that growth expectations may have been unreasonable in the past.

The divergence between the EPS and the share price is quite notable, during the year. So it's well worth checking out some other metrics, too.

Vital Farms' revenue is actually up 24% over the last year. Since the fundamental metrics don't readily explain the share price drop, there might be an opportunity if the market has overreacted.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Vital Farms

A Different Perspective

While Vital Farms shareholders are down 48% for the year, the market itself is up 35%. While the aim is to do better than that, it's worth recalling that even great long-term investments sometimes underperform for a year or more. It's great to see a nice little 0.3% rebound in the last three months. This could just be a bounce because the selling was too aggressive, but fingers crossed it's the start of a new trend. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Even so, be aware that Vital Farms is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

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