When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For example, the Enterprise Financial Services Corp (NASDAQ:EFSC) share price has soared 156% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. On top of that, the share price is up 20% in about a quarter. But this could be related to the strong market, which is up 11% in the last three months.
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).
Over half a decade, Enterprise Financial Services managed to grow its earnings per share at 22% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 21% average annual increase in the share price. This indicates that investor sentiment towards the company has not changed a great deal. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized 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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Enterprise Financial Services'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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Enterprise Financial Services, it has a TSR of 171% 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
Enterprise Financial Services shareholders have received returns of 25% over twelve months (even including dividends) , which isn't far from the general market return. That gain looks pretty satisfying, and it is even better than the five-year TSR of 22% per year. Even if the share price growth slows down from here, there's a good chance that this is business worth watching in the long term. If you would like to research Enterprise Financial Services in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
But note: Enterprise Financial Services may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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.
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