When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, long term Anhui Conch Cement Company Limited (HKG:914) shareholders have enjoyed a 52% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market decline of around 4.1% (not including dividends).
Since the stock has added CN¥10b to its market cap in the past week alone, let's see if underlying performance has been driving long-term returns.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
During five years of share price growth, Anhui Conch Cement achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 31% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 9% average annual increase in the share price. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock. The reasonably low P/E ratio of 5.57 also suggests market apprehension.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. 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 Anhui Conch Cement's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Anhui Conch Cement, it has a TSR of 83% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
While it's never nice to take a loss, Anhui Conch Cement shareholders can take comfort that , including dividends,their trailing twelve month loss of 9.3% wasn't as bad as the market loss of around 18%. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 13%, each year, over five years. In the best case scenario the last year is just a temporary blip on the journey to a brighter future. 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Anhui Conch Cement .
Anhui Conch Cement 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 HK exchanges.
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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.