The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the Ventas, Inc. (NYSE:VTR) share price is up 66% in the last year, clearly besting the market return of around 54% (not including dividends). That's a solid performance by our standards! The longer term returns have not been as good, with the stock price only 13% higher than it was three years ago.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 year, Ventas actually saw its earnings per share drop 1.4%.
Sometimes companies will sacrifice EPS in the short term for longer term gains; and in that case we may be able to find other positives. 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.
Revenue was pretty flat year on year, but maybe a closer look at the data can explain the market optimism.
You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
If you are thinking of buying or selling Ventas stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Ventas, it has a TSR of 73% for the last year. 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
It's good to see that Ventas has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 73% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 2%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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. To that end, you should learn about the 5 warning signs we've spotted with Ventas (including 2 which can't be ignored) .
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.
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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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