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Air Products and Chemicals (NYSE:APD) Has Gifted Shareholders With A Fantastic 159% Total Return On Their Investment

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The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. Long term Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 113% in five years. In the last week shares have slid back 2.8%.

View our latest analysis for Air Products and Chemicals

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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 five years of share price growth, Air Products and Chemicals achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 15% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 16% per year. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

This free interactive report on Air Products and Chemicals' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Air Products and Chemicals' TSR for the last 5 years was 159%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Air Products and Chemicals provided a TSR of 22% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 21% over half a decade This suggests the company might be improving over time. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. For example, we've discovered 1 warning sign for Air Products and Chemicals that you should be aware of before investing here.

Of course Air Products and Chemicals may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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. 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.