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If You Had Bought Cleanaway Waste Management (ASX:CWY) Stock Five Years Ago, You Could Pocket A 163% Gain Today

Simply Wall St

The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. One great example is Cleanaway Waste Management Limited (ASX:CWY) which saw its share price drive 163% higher over five years.

View our latest analysis for Cleanaway Waste Management

While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 the last half decade, Cleanaway Waste Management became profitable. Sometimes, the start of profitability is a major inflection point that can signal fast earnings growth to come, which in turn justifies very strong share price gains. Given that the company made a profit three years ago, but not five years ago, it is worth looking at the share price returns over the last three years, too. Indeed, the Cleanaway Waste Management share price has gained 82% in three years. During the same period, EPS grew by 29% each year. This EPS growth is higher than the 22% average annual increase in the share price over the same three years. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.

The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

ASX:CWY Past and Future Earnings, January 16th 2020

It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Cleanaway Waste Management's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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 Cleanaway Waste Management, it has a TSR of 192% 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

Cleanaway Waste Management provided a TSR of 17% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 24% per year for five years. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 1 warning sign for Cleanaway Waste Management you should be aware of.

Cleanaway Waste Management is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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

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.

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. Thank you for reading.