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. For example, the Country Garden Holdings Company Limited (HKG:2007) share price is up 92% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 4.0% (ignoring dividends).
After a strong gain in the past week, it's worth seeing if longer term returns have been driven by improving fundamentals.
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...' By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
During five years of share price growth, Country Garden Holdings achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 30% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 14% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 4.05.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
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. We note that for Country Garden Holdings the TSR over the last 5 years was 163%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Country Garden Holdings shareholders are down 12% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 12%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 21% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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. For instance, we've identified 3 warning signs for Country Garden Holdings (1 makes us a bit uncomfortable) that you should be aware of.
Country Garden Holdings 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.
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.
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