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Did You Miss Solvay's (EBR:SOLB) 17% Share Price Gain?

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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the Solvay SA (EBR:SOLB) share price is up 17% in the last year, clearly besting the market return of around 13% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 6.4% lower than it was three years ago.

View our latest analysis for Solvay

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 the last twelve months, Solvay actually shrank its EPS by 88%.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

Revenue was pretty stable on last year, so deeper research might be needed to explain the share price rise.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

ENXTBR:SOLB Income Statement, December 16th 2019
ENXTBR:SOLB Income Statement, December 16th 2019

Solvay is well known by investors, and plenty of clever analysts have tried to predict the future profit levels. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

What About Dividends?

When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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, Solvay's TSR for the last year was 21%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Solvay shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 21% over one year. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 2.9% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Importantly, we haven't analysed Solvay's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.

If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.

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