Did You Miss Hartford Financial Services Group’s (NYSE:HIG) 38% Share Price Gain?

When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. Furthermore, you’d generally like to see the share price rise faster than the market But The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:HIG) has fallen short of that second goal, with a share price rise of 38% over five years, which is below the market return. The last year has been disappointing, with the stock price down 9.5% in that time.

View our latest analysis for Hartford Financial Services Group

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

During the last half decade, Hartford Financial Services Group became profitable. That would generally be considered a positive, so we’d expect the share price to be up.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:HIG Past and Future Earnings, March 17th 2019
NYSE:HIG Past and Future Earnings, March 17th 2019

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Hartford Financial Services Group’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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 Hartford Financial Services Group, it has a TSR of 52% for the last 5 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

Hartford Financial Services Group shareholders are down 7.3% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 3.4%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 8.7% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.