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When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, long term American Software, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMSW.A) shareholders have enjoyed a 70% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 51% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 22% in the last year , including dividends .
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 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).
American Software's earnings per share are down 5.9% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years.
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.
The revenue growth of 0.7% per year hardly seems impressive. So why is the share price up? It's not immediately obvious to us, but a closer look at the company's progress over time might yield answers.
The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Take a more thorough look at American Software's financial health with this free report on its balance sheet.
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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of American Software, it has a TSR of 105% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that American Software shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 22% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 15% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand American Software better, we need to consider many other factors. Take risks, for example - American Software has 3 warning signs we think you should be aware of.
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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