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When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, long term ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) shareholders have enjoyed a 73% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 38% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 21% in the last year, including dividends.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
During five years of share price growth, ALLETE achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 7.5% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 12% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that ALLETE has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of ALLETE, it has a TSR of 106% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that ALLETE shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 21% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 15%. 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. If you would like to research ALLETE in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Thank you for reading.