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British Land's (LON:BLND) investors will be pleased with their decent 34% return over the last year

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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). For example, the British Land Company Plc (LON:BLND) share price is up 30% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market return of around 19% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 13% lower than it was three years ago.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 1 year and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

Check out our latest analysis for British Land

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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

During the last year, British Land actually saw its earnings per share drop 1.1%. This was, in part, due to extraordinary items impacting earning in the last twelve months.

The mild decline in EPS may be a result of the fact that the company is more focused on other aspects of the business, right now. It makes sense to check some of the other fundamental data for an explanation of the share price rise.

British Land's revenue actually dropped 22% over last year. So the fundamental metrics don't provide an obvious explanation for the share price gain.

You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

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. If you are thinking of buying or selling British Land stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of British Land, it has a TSR of 34% for the last 1 year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that British Land shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 34% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 0.2% 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 example, we've discovered 2 warning signs for British Land (1 shouldn't be ignored!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

British Land 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 GB 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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