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The Dave & Buster's Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY) Share Price Has Gained 84% And Shareholders Are Hoping For More

Simply Wall St

Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. For example, the Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ:PLAY) share price is up 84% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 45% (ignoring dividends).

View our latest analysis for Dave & Buster's Entertainment

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

During the five years of share price growth, Dave & Buster's Entertainment moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up. Since the company was unprofitable five years ago, but not three years ago, it's worth taking a look at the returns in the last three years, too. We can see that the Dave & Buster's Entertainment share price is down 13% in the last three years. In the same period, EPS is up 17% per year. It would appear there's a real mismatch between the increasing EPS and the share price, which has declined -4.7% a year for three years.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

NasdaqGS:PLAY Past and Future Earnings, November 13th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Dave & Buster's Entertainment's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Dave & Buster's Entertainment the TSR over the last 5 years was 87%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 15% in the last year, Dave & Buster's Entertainment shareholders lost 32% (even including dividends) . Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 13%, each year, over five years. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

Dave & Buster's Entertainment 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 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 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.