The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don’t use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. One great example is Cosan Limited (NYSE:CZZ) which saw its share price drive 202% higher over five years. It’s also good to see the share price up 37% over the last quarter.
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, Cosan managed to grow its earnings per share at 43% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 25% average annual increase in the share price. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Cosan has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? Take a more thorough look at Cosan’s financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Cosan the TSR over the last 5 years was 218%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We’re pleased to report that Cosan shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 116% over one year. That’s including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 26% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we’ve spotted 3 warning signs for Cosan (of which 1 doesn’t sit too well with us!) you should know about.
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 US 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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