Should Stockland (ASX:SGP) Be Disappointed With Their 35% Profit?

The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But you can significantly boost your returns by picking above-average stocks. For example, the Stockland (ASX:SGP) share price is up 35% in the last year, clearly besting the market return of around 19% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! The longer term returns have not been as good, with the stock price only 2.4% higher than it was three years ago.

View 3 warning signs we detected for Stockland

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 way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the last year, Stockland actually saw its earnings per share drop 69%.

Given the share price gain, we doubt the market is measuring progress with EPS. Therefore, it seems likely that investors are putting more weight on metrics other than EPS, at the moment.

We note that the most recent dividend payment is higher than the payment a year ago, so that may have assisted the share price. Income-seeking investors probably helped bid up the stock price.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

ASX:SGP Income Statement, January 6th 2020
ASX:SGP Income Statement, January 6th 2020

It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. You can see what analysts are predicting for Stockland in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.

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. In the case of Stockland, it has a TSR of 44% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

We’re pleased to report that Stockland shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 44% over one year. That’s including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 8.6%. 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Stockland is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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.