If You Had Bought Austal (ASX:ASB) Stock Three Years Ago, You Could Pocket A 68% Gain Today

It might be of some concern to shareholders to see the Austal Limited (ASX:ASB) share price down 27% in the last month. But don’t let that distract from the very nice return generated over three years. In fact, the company’s share price bested the return of its market index in that time, posting a gain of 68%.

Check out our latest analysis for Austal

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.

Austal became profitable within the last three years. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

ASX:ASB Past and Future Earnings March 27th 2020
ASX:ASB Past and Future Earnings March 27th 2020

It is of course excellent to see how Austal has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Austal’s TSR for the last 3 years was 80%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that Austal has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 35% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 12%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we’ve discovered 1 warning sign for Austal that you should be aware of before investing here.

If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.