The AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) Share Price Has Gained 48% And Shareholders Are Hoping For More

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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. To wit, the AstraZeneca share price has climbed 48% in five years, easily topping the market return of 7.0% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 27% in the last year, including dividends.

See our latest analysis for AstraZeneca

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.

Over half a decade, AstraZeneca managed to grow its earnings per share at 3.1% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 8.1% per year, over the same period. So it’s fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. And that’s hardly shocking given the track record of growth.

LSE:AZN Past and Future Earnings, July 10th 2019
LSE:AZN Past and Future Earnings, July 10th 2019

It’s good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That’s a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on AstraZeneca’s 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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of AstraZeneca, it has a TSR of 82% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It’s good to see that AstraZeneca has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 27% 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 13% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 AstraZeneca by clicking this link.

AstraZeneca 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.

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.