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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the American National Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ:AMNB) share price is up 51% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. Over the last year the stock price is up, albeit only a modest 1.2%.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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).
During five years of share price growth, American National Bankshares achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 2.4% per year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 8.6% per year, over the same period. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it did five years ago. That's not necessarily surprising considering the five-year track record of earnings growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of American National Bankshares'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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of American National Bankshares, it has a TSR of 77% 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
American National Bankshares provided a TSR of 4.2% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 12% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
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 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.