The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. To wit, the Capitol Health Limited (ASX:CAJ) share price has flown 118% in the last three years. That sort of return is as solid as granite. The last week saw the share price soften some 4.0%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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.
Capitol Health became profitable within the last three years. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here.
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 Capitol Health has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. If you are thinking of buying or selling Capitol Health stock, you should check out this FREE detailed report on its balance sheet.
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. As it happens, Capitol Health's TSR for the last 3 years was 135%, 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
While the broader market gained around 23% in the last year, Capitol Health shareholders lost 12% (even including dividends) . However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. However, the loss over the last year isn't as bad as the 16% per annum loss investors have suffered over the last half decade. We would want clear information suggesting the company will grow, before taking the view that the share price will stabilize. 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.
Of course Capitol Health may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.
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 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.