When you buy shares in a company, it’s worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) which saw its share price drive 104% higher over five years. The last week saw the share price soften some 7.0%.
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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Assurant’s earnings per share are down 2.1% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
By glancing at these numbers, we’d posit that the decline in earnings per share is not representative of how the business has changed over the years. Since the change in EPS doesn’t seem to correlate with the change in share price, it’s worth taking a look at other metrics.
It is not great to see that revenue has dropped by 4.5% per year over five years. It certainly surprises us that the share price is up, but perhaps a closer examination of the data will yield answers.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Assurant has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? You can see what analysts are predicting for Assurant in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Assurant, it has a TSR of 128% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It’s good to see that Assurant has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 24% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That’s better than the annualised return of 18% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Case in point: We’ve spotted 1 warning sign for Assurant you should be aware of.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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.
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