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Globe Life's (NYSE:GL) investors will be pleased with their notable 50% return over the last five years

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Globe Life Inc. (NYSE:GL) shareholders might be concerned after seeing the share price drop 11% in the last quarter. On the bright side the share price is up over the last half decade. In that time, it is up 44%, which isn't bad, but is below the market return of 128%.

Now it's worth having a look at the company's fundamentals too, because that will help us determine if the long term shareholder return has matched the performance of the underlying business.

See our latest analysis for Globe Life

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

Over half a decade, Globe Life managed to grow its earnings per share at 11% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 8% over the same period. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.

The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

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

Dive deeper into Globe Life's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Globe Life'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 Globe Life, it has a TSR of 50% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Globe Life shareholders are up 17% for the year (even including dividends). But that was short of the market average. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 8% per year over five year. It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. 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 1 warning sign for Globe Life that you should be aware of before investing here.

But note: Globe Life 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.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.

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