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If You Had Bought Encompass Health (NYSE:EHC) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Made 49%

Simply Wall St

It might be of some concern to shareholders to see the Encompass Health Corporation (NYSE:EHC) share price down 13% in the last month. But at least the stock is up over the last five years. However we are not very impressed because the share price is only up 49%, less than the market return of 52%.

View our latest analysis for Encompass Health

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just 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.

Over half a decade, Encompass Health managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 8.2% over the same period. So one could conclude that the broader market has become more cautious towards the stock.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:EHC Past and Future Earnings, August 28th 2019

Dive deeper into Encompass Health's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Encompass Health's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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, Encompass Health's TSR for the last 5 years was 65%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

While the broader market lost about 1.0% in the twelve months, Encompass Health shareholders did even worse, losing 27% (even including dividends). Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 10% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. 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.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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 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.