Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (NYSE:AGM) shareholders have seen the share price descend 12% over the month. But in stark contrast, the returns over the last half decade have impressed. Indeed, the share price is up an impressive 124% in that time. Generally speaking the long term returns will give you a better idea of business quality than short periods can. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s cheap now.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
During five years of share price growth, Federal Agricultural Mortgage achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 14% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 17% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It’s probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. In the case of Federal Agricultural Mortgage, it has a TSR of 156% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Federal Agricultural Mortgage provided a TSR of 6.5% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 21% a year, over half a decade) look better. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. 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.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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