By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX) shareholders have seen the share price rise 89% over three years, well in excess of the market return (40%, not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven’t been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 14%, including dividends.
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 flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
During three years of share price growth, Baxter International achieved compound earnings per share growth of 62% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 24% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Baxter International has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any 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. We note that for Baxter International the TSR over the last 3 years was 96%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there’s no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It’s nice to see that Baxter International shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 14% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 17% a year, is even better. If you would like to research Baxter International in more detail then you might want to take a look at whether insiders have been buying or selling shares in the company.
We will like Baxter International 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 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 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. Thank you for reading.