Did Compass Group’s (LON:CPG) Share Price Deserve to Gain 73%?

Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, long term Compass Group PLC (LON:CPG) shareholders have enjoyed a 73% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 3.0% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 17% in the last year, including dividends.

Check out our latest analysis for Compass Group

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 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 five years of share price growth, Compass Group achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 22% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 12% over the same period. So it seems the market isn’t so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

LSE:CPG Past and Future Earnings, March 15th 2019
LSE:CPG Past and Future Earnings, March 15th 2019

Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Compass Group’s TSR for the last 5 years was 115%, 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 Compass Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 17% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 17% 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. If you would like to research Compass Group in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.

But note: Compass Group 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 GB 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.