There's no doubt that investing in the stock market is a truly brilliant way to build wealth. But if when you choose to buy stocks, some of them will be below average performers. For example, the Black Hills Corporation (NYSE:BKH), share price is up over the last year, but its gain of 11% trails the market return. The longer term returns have not been as good, with the stock price only 4.5% higher than it was three years ago.
Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
During the last year Black Hills grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 18%. It's fair to say that the share price gain of 11% did not keep pace with the EPS growth. So it seems like the market has cooled on Black Hills, despite the growth. Interesting.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Black Hills the TSR over the last 1 year was 15%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Black Hills provided a TSR of 15% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 5% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over 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. To that end, you should be aware of the 1 warning sign we've spotted with Black Hills .
Black Hills is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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