By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. Just take a look at Prysmian S.p.A. (BIT:PRY), which is up 60%, over three years, soundly beating the market decline of 1.4% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 3.6% , including dividends .
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Prysmian was able to grow its EPS at 47% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 17% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It is of course excellent to see how Prysmian has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling Prysmian stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Prysmian, it has a TSR of 68% for the last 3 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
It's nice to see that Prysmian shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 3.6% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 7% per year, is even more impressive. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. 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 learn about the 2 warning signs we've spotted with Prysmian (including 1 which is potentially serious) .
But note: Prysmian 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 IT 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.