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, the Argo Group International Holdings, Ltd. (NYSE:ARGO) share price is up 84% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 44% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 15% in the last year, including dividends.
To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During five years of share price growth, Argo Group International Holdings actually saw its EPS drop 4.3% per year. So it's hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
We doubt the modest 1.8% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. In contrast revenue growth of 5.7% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Argo Group International Holdings is growing, a real positive. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that Argo Group International Holdings has improved its bottom line lately, but what does the future have in store? So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Argo Group International Holdings's TSR for the last 5 years was 100%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Argo Group International Holdings shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 15% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 15% 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. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
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 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.