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Those who invested in Burford Capital (LON:BUR) five years ago are up 117%

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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 when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is Burford Capital Limited (LON:BUR) which saw its share price drive 109% higher over five years. It's also up 15% in about a month.

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 5 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

See our latest analysis for Burford Capital

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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.

Over half a decade, Burford Capital managed to grow its earnings per share at 20% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 16% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.

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

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Burford Capital's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Burford Capital the TSR over the last 5 years was 117%, 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

It's nice to see that Burford Capital shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 61% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 17% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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.

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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