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Does Zions Bancorporation National Association's (NASDAQ:ZION) Share Price Gain of 86% Match Its Business Performance?

Simply Wall St

By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But many of us dare to dream of bigger returns, and build a portfolio ourselves. Just take a look at Zions Bancorporation, National Association (NASDAQ:ZION), which is up 86%, over three years, soundly beating the market return of 39% (not including dividends).

View our latest analysis for Zions Bancorporation National Association

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 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 three years of share price growth, Zions Bancorporation National Association achieved compound earnings per share growth of 54% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 23% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 10.88.

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

NasdaqGS:ZION Past and Future Earnings, April 12th 2019

We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Zions Bancorporation National Association'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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Zions Bancorporation National Association, it has a TSR of 94% for the last 3 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

Zions Bancorporation National Association shareholders are down 8.1% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 9.9%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

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.