One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But if you buy good businesses at attractive prices, your portfolio returns could exceed the average market return. For example, EastGroup Properties, Inc. (NYSE:EGP) shareholders have seen the share price rise 86% over three years, well in excess of the market return (38%, not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 40%, including dividends.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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, EastGroup Properties achieved compound earnings per share growth of 19% per year. We note that the 23% yearly (average) share price gain isn't too far from the EPS growth rate. Coincidence? Probably not. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. Quite to the contrary, the share price has arguably reflected the EPS growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on EastGroup Properties'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 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, EastGroup Properties's TSR for the last 3 years was 104%, 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 good to see that EastGroup Properties has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 40% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 16% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 EastGroup Properties 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 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 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.