Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. To wit, the QTS Realty Trust share price has climbed 54% in five years, easily topping the market return of 35% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 7.8%, 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 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.
QTS Realty Trust has made a profit in the past. However, it made a loss in the last twelve months, suggesting profit may be an unreliable metric at this stage. So we might find other metrics can better explain the share price movements.
On the other hand, QTS Realty Trust's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 16% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. If you are thinking of buying or selling QTS Realty Trust stock, you should check out this free report showing analyst profit forecasts.
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, QTS Realty Trust's TSR for the last 5 years was 83%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that QTS Realty Trust has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 7.8% in the last twelve months. Of course, that includes the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 13% a year, is even better. 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. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
QTS Realty Trust 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 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.