It hasn’t been the best quarter for Topdanmark A/S (CPH:TOP) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 22% in that time. But that shouldn’t obscure the pleasing returns achieved by shareholders over the last three years. In fact, the company’s share price bested the return of its market index in that time, posting a gain of 46%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 three years of share price growth, Topdanmark achieved compound earnings per share growth of 2.0% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 13% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that, as the business progressed over the last few years, it gained the confidence of market participants. That’s not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. We note that for Topdanmark the TSR over the last 3 years was 63%, 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
Topdanmark shareholders are down 19% for the year (even including dividends) , but the market itself is up 3.6%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 6.7% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we’ve discovered 3 warning signs for Topdanmark that you should be aware of before investing here.
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Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on DK 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.
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