When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of Applied Materials, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMAT) stock is up an impressive 127% over the last five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 24% gain in the last three months. This could be related to the recent financial results, released recently - you can catch up on the most recent data by reading our company report.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Over half a decade, Applied Materials managed to grow its earnings per share at 31% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 18% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
It is of course excellent to see how Applied Materials has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on Applied Materials's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Applied Materials the TSR over the last 5 years was 146%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Applied Materials shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 34% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 20% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. If you would like to research Applied Materials in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
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 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. Thank you for reading.