The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don’t use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of Enghouse Systems Limited (TSE:ENGH) stock is up an impressive 165% over the last five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 44% gain in the last three months.
To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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 five years of share price growth, Enghouse Systems achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 18% per year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 22% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Indeed, it would appear the share price is reacting to the EPS.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
Fundamentally, investors are buying a company’s future earnings, but the stability of the business can influence the price they’re willing to pay. For example, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Enghouse Systems which any shareholder or potential investor should be aware of.
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 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. We note that for Enghouse Systems the TSR over the last 5 years was 179%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s nice to see that Enghouse Systems shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 47% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 23%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.com. 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.
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