By buying an index fund, investors can approximate the average market return. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. For example, Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) shareholders have seen the share price rise 90% over three years, well in excess of the market return (41%, not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven’t been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 14% in the last year, including dividends.
To quote Buffett, ‘Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace…’ 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 three years of share price growth, Baxter International achieved compound earnings per share growth of 62% per year. The average annual share price increase of 24% is actually lower than the EPS growth. So it seems investors have become more cautious about the company, over time.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It is of course excellent to see how Baxter International has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Baxter International, it has a TSR of 96% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We’re pleased to report that Baxter International shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 14% over one year. That’s including the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 17% a year, is even better. If you would like to research Baxter International 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.