U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,841.94
    +73.47 (+1.95%)
     
  • Dow 30

    31,496.30
    +572.16 (+1.85%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    12,920.15
    +196.68 (+1.55%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    2,192.21
    +45.29 (+2.11%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    66.28
    +2.45 (+3.84%)
     
  • Gold

    1,698.20
    -2.50 (-0.15%)
     
  • Silver

    25.30
    -0.17 (-0.65%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1916
    -0.0063 (-0.52%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    1.5540
    +0.0040 (+0.26%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.3834
    -0.0060 (-0.43%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    108.3600
    +0.3840 (+0.36%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    49,563.93
    +714.52 (+1.46%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    982.93
    +39.75 (+4.21%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    6,630.52
    -20.36 (-0.31%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    28,864.32
    -65.78 (-0.23%)
     

Did You Miss RLI's (NYSE:RLI) 69% Share Price Gain?

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Simply Wall St
·3 min read
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

One simple way to benefit from the stock market is to buy an index fund. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. For example, RLI Corp. (NYSE:RLI) shareholders have seen the share price rise 69% over three years, well in excess of the market return (49%, not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 20% in the last year , including dividends .

Check out our latest analysis for RLI

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

RLI was able to grow its EPS at 14% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is lower than the 19% average annual increase in the share price. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did three years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the three-year track record of earnings growth.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of RLI's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of RLI, it has a TSR of 81% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

RLI provided a TSR of 20% over the last twelve months. Unfortunately this falls short of the market return. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 14% per year over five year. This suggests the company might be improving over time. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 2 warning signs with RLI , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.