These days it’s easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). For example, the Enbridge Inc. (TSE:ENB) share price is up 22% in the last year, clearly besting than the market return of around 1.0% (not including dividends). So that should have shareholders smiling. However, the longer term returns haven’t been so impressive, with the stock up just 1.2% in the last three years.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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 the last year, Enbridge actually saw its earnings per share drop 12%. So we don’t think that investors are paying too much attention to EPS. Indeed, when EPS is declining but the share price is up, it often means the market is considering other factors.
For starters, we suspect the share price has been buoyed by the dividend, which was increased during the year. It could be that the company is reaching maturity and dividend investors are buying for the yield, pushing the price up in the process. Furthermore, the revenue growth of 4.5% probably also encouraged buyers.
The graphic below shows how revenue and earnings have changed as management guided the business forward. If you want to see cashflow, you can click on the chart.
It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Enbridge’s TSR for the last year was 30%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s good to see that Enbridge has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 30% in the last twelve months. That’s including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 4.8%. 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA 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 email@example.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.