Did Hour Glass’s (SGX:AGS) Share Price Deserve to Gain 29%?

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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 the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. To wit, the Hour Glass share price has climbed 29% in five years, easily topping the market return of -4.6% (ignoring dividends).

View our latest analysis for Hour Glass

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.

Over half a decade, Hour Glass managed to grow its earnings per share at 5.1% a year. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 5.3% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

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

SGX:AGS Past and Future Earnings, June 25th 2019
SGX:AGS Past and Future Earnings, June 25th 2019

It’s probably worth noting we’ve seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. 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. The TSR is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Hour Glass the TSR over the last 5 years was 49%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We’re pleased to report that Hour Glass shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 28% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 8.3%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. 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 Hour Glass by clicking this link.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SG 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.