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The Appen (ASX:APX) Share Price Gained 1240% And Shareholders Are Jubilant

Simply Wall St

Investing can be hard but the potential fo an individual stock to pay off big time inspires us. Not every pick can be a winner, but when you pick the right stock, you can win big. One bright shining star stock has been Appen Limited (ASX:APX), which is 1240% higher than three years ago. It's also good to see the share price up 60% over the last quarter.

Anyone who held for that rewarding ride would probably be keen to talk about it.

Check out our latest analysis for Appen

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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 three years of share price growth, Appen achieved compound earnings per share growth of 65% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 138% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that the market is feeling more optimistic on the stock, after the last few years of progress. It's not unusual to see the market 're-rate' a stock, after a few years of growth. This optimism is also reflected in the fairly generous P/E ratio of 63.70.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

ASX:APX Past and Future Earnings, April 24th 2019

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Appen's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. As it happens, Appen's TSR for the last 3 years was 1283%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Appen shareholders have gained 162% (in total) over the last year. And yes, that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualized TSR of 140% over the last three years. Given the track record of solid returns over varying time frames, it might be worth putting Appen on your watchlist. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Appen by clicking this link.

Appen 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 AU 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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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. Thank you for reading.