When we invest, we’re generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the Utah Medical Products, Inc. (NASDAQ:UTMD) share price is up 54% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 41% (ignoring dividends).
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.
During five years of share price growth, Utah Medical Products achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 10% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 9.0% per year. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn’t morphed very much. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
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. This free interactive report on Utah Medical Products’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Utah Medical Products the TSR over the last 5 years was 66%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Investors in Utah Medical Products had a tough year, with a total loss of 7.5% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 1.4%. Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 11% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.