By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. Just take a look at Franchise Brands plc (LON:FRAN), which is up 86%, over three years, soundly beating the market decline of 8.8% (not including dividends).
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 three years of share price growth, Franchise Brands moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Franchise Brands' earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Franchise Brands' TSR for the last 3 years was 91%, 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
Franchise Brands shareholders are down 12% for the year (even including dividends), falling short of the market return. The market shed around 4.2%, no doubt weighing on the stock price. Fortunately the longer term story is brighter, with total returns averaging about 24% per year over three years. Sometimes when a good quality long term winner has a weak period, it's turns out to be an opportunity, but you really need to be sure that the quality is there. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Franchise Brands you should be aware of.
Franchise Brands is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on GB 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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