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Did You Participate In Any Of WD-40's (NASDAQ:WDFC) Fantastic 239% Return ?

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When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But when you pick a company that is really flourishing, you can make more than 100%. One great example is WD-40 Company (NASDAQ:WDFC) which saw its share price drive 214% higher over five years. Also pleasing for shareholders was the 28% gain in the last three months. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 14% in the last three months.

View our latest analysis for WD-40

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.

During five years of share price growth, WD-40 achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 11% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 26% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth. This favorable sentiment is reflected in its (fairly optimistic) P/E ratio of 63.31.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on WD-40'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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of WD-40, it has a TSR of 239% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that WD-40 has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 77% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 28%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. For example, we've discovered 3 warning signs for WD-40 that you should be aware of before investing here.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.