Investors can buy low cost index fund if they want to receive the average market return. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. For example, the Duxton Water Limited (ASX:D2O) share price return of 18% over three years lags the market return in the same period. Disappointingly, the share price is down 3.7% in the last year.
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 three years of share price growth, Duxton Water achieved compound earnings per share growth of 32% per year. The average annual share price increase of 6% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Duxton Water's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Duxton Water the TSR over the last 3 years was 35%, 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
Over the last year Duxton Water shareholders have received a TSR of 0.6%. It's always nice to make money but this return falls short of the market return which was about 33% for the year. But the (superior) three-year TSR of 10% per year is some consolation. We prefer focus on longer term returns, as they are usually a more meaningful indication of the underlying business. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Duxton Water (1 is potentially serious) that you should be aware of.
Of course Duxton Water may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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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