For many, the main point of investing in the stock market is to achieve spectacular returns. And we’ve seen some truly amazing gains over the years. Just think about the savvy investors who held Objective Corporation Limited (ASX:OCL) shares for the last five years, while they gained 584%. This just goes to show the value creation that some businesses can achieve. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 54% gain in the last three months.
Anyone who held for that rewarding ride would probably be keen to talk about it.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
Over half a decade, Objective managed to grow its earnings per share at 12% a year. This EPS growth is lower than the 47% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That’s not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth. This optimism is visible in its fairly high P/E ratio of 105.91.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover 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. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. This free interactive report on Objective’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Objective the TSR over the last 5 years was 639%, 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 Objective has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 248% in the last twelve months. That’s including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 49%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Objective you should be aware of.
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 AU exchanges.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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