Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, long term Portland General Electric Company (NYSE:POR) shareholders have enjoyed a 63% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 52% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 32% , including dividends .
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
Portland General Electric’s earnings per share are down 0.3% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
So it’s hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Therefore, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.
We are not particularly impressed by the annual compound revenue growth of 2.0% over five years. So it seems one might have to take closer look at earnings and revenue trends to see how they might influence the share price.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have 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. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Portland General Electric’s TSR for the last 5 years was 90%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We’re pleased to report that Portland General Electric shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 32% 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 14% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. Be aware that Portland General Electric is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about…
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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