Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, long term The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) shareholders have enjoyed a 63% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 47% (not including dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven’t been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 50% , including dividends .
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During five years of share price growth, Hershey achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 9.1% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 10% per year. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn’t changed much over that time. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to 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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Hershey the TSR over the last 5 years was 84%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s good to see that Hershey has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 50% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 13% per year), it would seem that the stock’s performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares – and the price they paid.
Hershey is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.