Did Altius Minerals’s (TSE:ALS) Share Price Deserve to Gain 17%?

Vanguard founder Jack Bogle helped spearhead the low-cost index fund, putting average returns within reach of every investor. But you can make superior returns by picking better-than average stocks. Notably, the Altius Minerals Corporation (TSE:ALS) share price has gained 17% in three years, which is better than the average market return. In contrast, the stock is actually down 7.4% in the last year, suggesting a lack of positive momentum.

View our latest analysis for Altius Minerals

To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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).

During three years of share price growth, Altius Minerals moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

TSX:ALS Past and Future Earnings, April 20th 2019
TSX:ALS Past and Future Earnings, April 20th 2019

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Altius Minerals’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Altius Minerals, it has a TSR of 21% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Investors in Altius Minerals had a tough year, with a total loss of 6.2% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 7.4%. 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. Unfortunately, last year’s performance may indicate unresolved challenges, given that it was worse than the annualised loss of 2.3% over the last half decade. We realise that Buffett has said investors should ‘buy when there is blood on the streets’, but we caution that investors should first be sure they are buying a high quality businesses. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Altius Minerals by clicking this link.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.