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Thanks in no small measure to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, it’s easy buy a low cost index fund, which should provide the average market return. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. Notably, the Mackinac Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:MFNC) share price has gained 57% in three years, which is better than the average market return. The bad news is that the share price seems to lack positive momentum recently, since it has dropped 2.5% in the last year.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.
Mackinac Financial was able to grow its EPS at 1.6% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 16% per year gain in the share price outpaces the EPS growth. This suggests that, as the business progressed over the last few years, it gained the confidence of market participants. It’s not unusual to see the market ‘re-rate’ a stock, after a few years of growth.
The company’s earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We’re pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It’s always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Mackinac Financial, it has a TSR of 74% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Mackinac Financial shareholders gained a total return of 0.6% during the year. But that return falls short of the market. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 9.0% per year for five years. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. If you would like to research Mackinac Financial in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you would prefer to check out another company — one with potentially superior financials — then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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 email@example.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.