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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But you can significantly boost your returns by picking above-average stocks. To wit, the Olin Corporation (NYSE:OLN) share price is 42% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 21% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! Zooming out, the stock is actually down 33% in the last three years.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Over the last twelve months Olin went from profitable to unprofitable. While some may see this as temporary, we're a skeptical bunch, and so we're a little surprised to see the share price go up. We might get a clue to explain the share price move by looking to other metrics.
Unfortunately Olin's fell 14% over twelve months. So using a snapshot of key business metrics doesn't give us a good picture of why the market is bidding up the stock.
The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. You can see what analysts are predicting for Olin in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for Olin the TSR over the last year was 50%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Olin has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 50% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 11% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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 3 warning signs for Olin you should be aware of, and 2 of them are a bit unpleasant.
Olin 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 US exchanges.
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. 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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