If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. For example, the Billing Services Group Limited (LON:BILL) share price is up 39% in the last year, clearly besting the market return of around -4.9% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. On the other hand, longer term shareholders have had a tougher run, with the stock falling 36% in three years.
Billing Services Group wasn’t profitable in the last twelve months, it is unlikely we’ll see a strong correlation between its share price and its earnings per share (EPS). Arguably revenue is our next best option. Shareholders of unprofitable companies usually expect strong revenue growth. That’s because it’s hard to be confident a company will be sustainable if revenue growth is negligible, and it never makes a profit.
In the last year Billing Services Group saw its revenue shrink by 20%. Despite the lack of revenue growth, the stock has returned a solid 39% the last twelve months. To us that means that there isn’t a lot of correlation between the past revenue performance and the share price, but a closer look at analyst forecasts and the bottom line may well explain a lot.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Billing Services Group the TSR over the last year was 78%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s good to see that Billing Services Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 78% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 11% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. 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. For example, we’ve discovered 4 warning signs for Billing Services Group (2 are a bit concerning!) 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 GB exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.