Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, the The Hour Glass Limited (SGX:AGS) share price is up 29% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around -8.2% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 24% , including dividends .
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.
Over half a decade, Hour Glass managed to grow its earnings per share at 6.1% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 5.2% average annual increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time.
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Hour Glass’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 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. We note that for Hour Glass the TSR over the last 5 years was 49%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It’s nice to see that Hour Glass shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 24% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 8.3% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Hour Glass by clicking this link.
Hour Glass 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 SG exchanges.
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.
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. Thank you for reading.