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 Element Fleet Management Corp. (TSE:EFN) share price is 104% higher than it was three years ago. How nice for those who held the stock! In the last week the share price is up 2.6%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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).
Element Fleet Management was able to grow its EPS at 42% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. The average annual share price increase of 27% is actually lower than the EPS growth. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Element Fleet Management has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? This free interactive report on Element Fleet Management's balance sheet strength 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. 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 Element Fleet Management the TSR over the last 3 years was 119%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Element Fleet Management shareholders have received returns of 36% over twelve months (even including dividends), which isn't far from the general market return. Most would be happy with a gain, and it helps that the year's return is actually better than the average return over five years, which was 8%. It is possible that management foresight will bring growth well into the future, even if the share price slows down. 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 instance, we've identified 2 warning signs for Element Fleet Management that you should be aware of.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA 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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