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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, you can make far more than 100% on a really good stock. For instance, the price of STERIS plc (NYSE:STE) stock is up an impressive 167% over the last five years. On top of that, the share price is up 15% in about a quarter. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 6.6% in the last three months.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Over half a decade, STERIS managed to grow its earnings per share at 16% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 22% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on STERIS' 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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, STERIS' TSR for the last 5 years was 185%, 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 nice to see that STERIS shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 18% over the last year. That's including the dividend. However, that falls short of the 23% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand STERIS better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for STERIS you should know about.
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.
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