The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But in contrast you can make much more than 100% if the company does well. For instance the JBS S.A. (BVMF:JBSS3) share price is 185% higher than it was three years ago. That sort of return is as solid as granite. In the last week shares have slid back 1.3%.
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 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, JBS achieved compound earnings per share growth of 17% per year. We note, however, that extraordinary items have impacted earnings. This EPS growth is lower than the 42% 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 three years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into JBS' key metrics by checking this interactive graph of JBS's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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, JBS' TSR for the last 3 years was 194%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
JBS shareholders are down 11% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 7.2%. 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. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 9.7%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for JBS you should know about.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on BR 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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