Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the Wincanton plc (LON:WIN) share price is up 57% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 6.1% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 18% , including dividends .
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Over half a decade, Wincanton managed to grow its earnings per share at 7.9% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 9.4% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Wincanton has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? Check if analysts think Wincanton will grow revenue in the future.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Wincanton's TSR for the last 5 years was 82%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Wincanton shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 18% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 13%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. If you would like to research Wincanton in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
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 GB exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.