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Did You Miss North American Construction Group's (TSE:NOA) Impressive 291% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

It hasn't been the best quarter for North American Construction Group Ltd. (TSE:NOA) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 12% in that time. But that doesn't change the fact that the returns over the last five years have been very strong. We think most investors would be happy with the 291% return, over that period. To some, the recent pullback wouldn't be surprising after such a fast rise. Ultimately business performance will determine whether the stock price continues the positive long term trend.

View our latest analysis for North American Construction Group

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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During the last half decade, North American Construction Group became profitable. That kind of transition can be an inflection point that justifies a strong share price gain, just as we have seen here.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

TSX:NOA Past and Future Earnings, December 12th 2019

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?

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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, North American Construction Group's TSR for the last 5 years was 326%, 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 North American Construction Group shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 19% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. However, the TSR over five years, coming in at 34% per year, is even more impressive. The pessimistic view would be that be that the stock has its best days behind it, but on the other hand the price might simply be moderating while the business itself continues to execute. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA exchanges.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.