Did Business Growth Power Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Share Price Gain of 116%?

The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. For example, the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) share price has soared 116% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. In the last week the share price is up 2.5%.

Check out our latest analysis for Apple

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it’s a weighing machine. 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, Apple managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 17% per year. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

NasdaqGS:AAPL Past and Future Earnings, July 27th 2019
NasdaqGS:AAPL Past and Future Earnings, July 27th 2019

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 Apple’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Apple’s TSR for the last 5 years was 136%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It’s nice to see that Apple shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 10% over the last year. That’s including the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 19% per year, is even more impressive. Potential buyers might understandably feel they’ve missed the opportunity, but it’s always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.