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Shareholders Of Inspired (LON:INSE) Must Be Happy With Their 78% Return

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Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, the Inspired Plc (LON:INSE) share price is up 56% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 13% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 32% in the last year , including dividends .

Check out our latest analysis for Inspired

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 five years of share price growth, Inspired actually saw its EPS drop 29% per year.

Essentially, it doesn't seem likely that investors are focused on EPS. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.

We doubt the modest 1.2% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. In contrast revenue growth of 24% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Inspired is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.

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

Take a more thorough look at Inspired's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.

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. In the case of Inspired, it has a TSR of 78% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Inspired shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 32% over one year. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 12% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Inspired you should be aware of.

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. 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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