Investing in Barratt Developments (LON:BDEV) five years ago would have delivered you a 88% gain

By
Simply Wall St
Published
January 21, 2022
LSE:BDEV
Source: Shutterstock

Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. To wit, the Barratt Developments share price has climbed 44% in five years, easily topping the market return of 12% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 0.5% , including dividends .

So let's assess the underlying fundamentals over the last 5 years and see if they've moved in lock-step with shareholder returns.

Check out our latest analysis for Barratt Developments

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).

During five years of share price growth, Barratt Developments achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 3.2% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 8% 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 five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.

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

earnings-per-share-growth
LSE:BDEV Earnings Per Share Growth January 21st 2022

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Barratt Developments' 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). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Barratt Developments' TSR for the last 5 years was 88%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Barratt Developments shareholders gained a total return of 0.5% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 13% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. 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 for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Barratt Developments , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

Barratt Developments is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB exchanges.

Discounted cash flow calculation for every stock

Simply Wall St does a detailed discounted cash flow calculation every 6 hours for every stock on the market, so if you want to find the intrinsic value of any company just search here. It’s FREE.

Make Confident Investment Decisions

Simply Wall St's Editorial Team provides unbiased, factual reporting on global stocks using in-depth fundamental analysis.
Find out more about our editorial guidelines and team.