Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, long term FFI Holdings Limited (ASX:FFI) shareholders have enjoyed a 84% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 34% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 45% in the last year , 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 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 five years of share price growth, FFI Holdings achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 9.8% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 13% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
This free interactive report on FFI Holdings' 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, FFI Holdings' TSR for the last 5 years was 135%, 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 FFI Holdings shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 45% over one year. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 19% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 2 warning signs for FFI Holdings that you should be aware of before investing here.
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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