One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A. (EPA:SGO) share price is up 60% in the last three years, clearly besting the market return of around 20% (not including dividends).
While the stock has fallen 7.2% this week, it's worth focusing on the longer term and seeing if the stocks historical returns have been driven by the underlying fundamentals.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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).
Compagnie de Saint-Gobain was able to grow its EPS at 3.4% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 17% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. 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.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Compagnie de Saint-Gobain has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Compagnie de Saint-Gobain's TSR for the last 3 years was 70%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Compagnie de Saint-Gobain shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 60% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 11% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Compagnie de Saint-Gobain .
But note: Compagnie de Saint-Gobain may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on FR exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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