You can receive the average market return by buying a low-cost index fund. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, Life Storage, Inc. (NYSE:LSI) shares are up 42% in three years, besting the market return. The bad news is that the share price seems to lack positive momentum recently, since it has dropped 1.0% in the last year.
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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
Life Storage was able to grow its EPS at 68% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is higher than the 12% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. 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 Life Storage's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Life Storage's TSR for the last 3 years was 61%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Life Storage shareholders gained a total return of 3.2% during the year. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 5.2% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. 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. Take risks, for example - Life Storage has 4 warning signs (and 2 which are potentially serious) we think you should know about.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do 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.
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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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