The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. One great example is Republic Services, Inc. (NYSE:RSG) which saw its share price drive 123% higher over five years. In the last week the share price is up 3.1%.
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.
During five years of share price growth, Republic Services achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 7.2% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 17% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Republic Services' 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. We note that for Republic Services the TSR over the last 5 years was 146%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
Republic Services shareholders are up 33% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 20% over half a decade This suggests the company might be improving over time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Republic Services better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - Republic Services has 1 warning sign we think you should be aware of.
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 US exchanges.
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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. 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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