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When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. For example, the Essent Group Ltd. (NYSE:ESNT) share price has soared 125% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 five years of share price growth, Essent Group achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 17% per year. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 18% average annual increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. Indeed, it would appear the share price is reacting to the EPS.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Essent Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. We note that for Essent Group the TSR over the last 5 years was 130%, 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
Essent Group shareholders are down 6.9% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 35%. 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. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 18% per year over half a decade. 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. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Essent Group better, we need to consider many other factors. Case in point: We've spotted 3 warning signs for Essent Group you should be aware of.
Essent Group is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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