If You Had Bought Fortescue Metals Group Stock Three Years Ago, You Could Pocket A 144% Gain Today

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don’t use leverage) is 100% of your money. But in contrast you can make much more than 100% if the company does well. For instance the Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX:FMG) share price is 144% higher than it was three years ago. Most would be happy with that. On top of that, the share price is up 63% in about a quarter. This could be related to the recent financial results, released recently – you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.

See our latest analysis for Fortescue Metals Group

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During three years of share price growth, Fortescue Metals Group achieved compound earnings per share growth of 40% per year. We don’t think it is entirely coincidental that the EPS growth is reasonably close to the 35% average annual increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time. Au contraire, the share price change has arguably mimicked the EPS growth.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

ASX:FMG Past and Future Earnings, March 6th 2019
ASX:FMG Past and Future Earnings, March 6th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Fortescue Metals Group’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Fortescue Metals Group’s TSR for the last 3 years was 198%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We’re pleased to report that Fortescue Metals Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 51% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 12% 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. 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.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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 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. Thank you for reading.