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If You Had Bought Ansell (ASX:ANN) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Made 49%

Simply Wall St

When we invest, we're generally looking for stocks that outperform the market average. And while active stock picking involves risks (and requires diversification) it can also provide excess returns. To wit, the Ansell share price has climbed 49% in five years, easily topping the market return of 6.3% (ignoring dividends). On the other hand, the more recent gains haven't been so impressive, with shareholders gaining just 6.6%, including dividends.

Check out our latest analysis for Ansell

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.

Ansell's earnings per share are down 6.6% per year, despite strong share price performance over five years. This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Because earnings per share don't seem to match up with the share price, we'll take a look at other metrics instead.

The revenue reduction of 2.6% per year is not a positive. It certainly surprises us that the share price is up, but perhaps a closer examination of the data will yield answers.

You can see how revenue and earnings have changed over time in the image below, (click on the chart to see cashflow).

ASX:ANN Income Statement, April 24th 2019

Ansell is a well known stock, with plenty of analyst coverage, suggesting some visibility into future growth. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

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. As it happens, Ansell's TSR for the last 5 years was 69%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

Ansell shareholders are up 6.6% for the year (even including dividends). But that was short of the market average. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 11% per year for five years. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. 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.

We will like Ansell better if we see some big insider buys. While we wait, check out this free list of growing companies with considerable, recent, insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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.