Vanguard founder Jack Bogle helped spearhead the low-cost index fund, putting average returns within reach of every investor. But you can make superior returns by picking better-than average stocks. To wit, Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) shares are up 45% in three years, besting the market return. It's nice to see the stock price has more recent momentum, too, with a rise of 24% in the last year.
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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 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, Exelon achieved compound earnings per share growth of 7.6% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 13% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that the market is feeling more optimistic on the stock, after the last few years of progress. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
Dive deeper into Exelon's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Exelon'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. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, Exelon's TSR for the last 3 years was 61%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Exelon shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 27% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 11%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Is Exelon cheap compared to other companies? These 3 valuation measures might help you decide.
But note: Exelon may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
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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.