If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. For example, the Incitec Pivot Limited (ASX:IPL) share price is up 44% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market return of around 17% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 14% lower than it was three years ago.
After a strong gain in the past week, it's worth seeing if longer term returns have been driven by improving fundamentals.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During the last year Incitec Pivot grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 7.9%. The share price gain of 44% certainly outpaced the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it a year ago.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Incitec Pivot's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Incitec Pivot shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 44% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 1.9%. 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. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Incitec Pivot you should be aware of.
Incitec Pivot 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.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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