The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (NYSE:APD) share price is 66% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. It's fair to say the stock has continued its long term trend in the last year, over which it has risen 49%.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During five years of share price growth, Air Products and Chemicals achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 11% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 11% 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.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Air Products and Chemicals'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). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Air Products and Chemicals the TSR over the last 5 years was 103%, 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
It's nice to see that Air Products and Chemicals shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 53% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 15% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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.
Air Products and Chemicals 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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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. Thank you for reading.