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Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But if you invest in individual stocks, some are likely to underperform. For example, the United-Guardian, Inc. (NASDAQ:UG) share price return of 30% over three years lags the market return in the same period. Zooming in, the stock is up just 4.8% in the last year.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.
United-Guardian was able to grow its EPS at 7.1% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. In comparison, the 9.3% 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.
This free interactive report on United-Guardian’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 or spin-off. It’s fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of United-Guardian, it has a TSR of 57% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We’re pleased to report that United-Guardian shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 11% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 0.2% per year over the last half decade. The long term loss makes us cautious, but the short term TSR gain certainly hints at a brighter future. Importantly, we haven’t analysed United-Guardian’s dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you’re thinking of buying.
Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will 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 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.