When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE:ITW) share price is up 86% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 47% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 8.5%, including dividends.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Over half a decade, Illinois Tool Works managed to grow its earnings per share at 16% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 13% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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, Illinois Tool Works's TSR for the last 5 years was 108%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Illinois Tool Works provided a TSR of 8.5% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. It's probably a good sign that the company has an even better long term track record, having provided shareholders with an annual TSR of 16% over five years. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
Illinois Tool Works 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 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.