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Did You Miss West Pharmaceutical Services's (NYSE:WST) Impressive 183% Share Price Gain?

Simply Wall St

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 example, the West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (NYSE:WST) share price has soared 183% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. Meanwhile the share price is 3.6% higher than it was a week ago.

See our latest analysis for West Pharmaceutical Services

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).

Over half a decade, West Pharmaceutical Services managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 23% 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. This optimism is visible in its fairly high P/E ratio of 46.26.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

NYSE:WST Past and Future Earnings, November 1st 2019

We know that West Pharmaceutical Services has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.

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, West Pharmaceutical Services's TSR for the last 5 years was 192%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that West Pharmaceutical Services shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 38% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 24% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. Before deciding if you like the current share price, check how West Pharmaceutical Services scores on these 3 valuation metrics.

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.