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Did You Miss Six Flags Entertainment's (NYSE:SIX) 34% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

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Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE:SIX) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 16% in the last quarter. But the silver lining is the stock is up over five years. In that time, it is up 34%, which isn't bad, but is below the market return of 58%.

View our latest analysis for Six Flags Entertainment

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. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.

Over half a decade, Six Flags Entertainment managed to grow its earnings per share at 21% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 6.1% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

NYSE:SIX Past and Future Earnings, May 14th 2019

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Six Flags Entertainment'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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Six Flags Entertainment's TSR for the last 5 years was 70%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Six Flags Entertainment shareholders are down 11% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 3.5%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 11%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Six Flags Entertainment by clicking this link.

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.

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 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. Thank you for reading.