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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, long term Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE:ARE) shareholders have enjoyed a 96% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 39% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 22% in the last year, including dividends.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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).
Over half a decade, Alexandria Real Estate Equities managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. That makes the EPS growth particularly close to the yearly share price growth of 14%. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
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 Alexandria Real Estate Equities has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. Take a more thorough look at Alexandria Real Estate Equities's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, it has a TSR of 130% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Alexandria Real Estate Equities shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 22% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 18%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. 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 Alexandria Real Estate Equities 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 would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
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.