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When you buy a stock there is always a possibility that it could drop 100%. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. Long term Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ:PEGA) shareholders would be well aware of this, since the stock is up 239% in five years.
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. 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.
Pegasystems's earnings per share are down 12% 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. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.
We doubt the modest 0.2% dividend yield is attracting many buyers to the stock. On the other hand, Pegasystems's revenue is growing nicely, at a compound rate of 10% over the last five years. It's quite possible that management are prioritizing revenue growth over EPS growth at the moment.
You can see how earnings and revenue have changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
We're pleased to report that the CEO is remunerated more modestly than most CEOs at similarly capitalized companies. But while CEO remuneration is always worth checking, the really important question is whether the company can grow earnings going forward. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Pegasystems will earn in the future (free profit 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. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Pegasystems, it has a TSR of 245% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Pegasystems shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 32% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 28% 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. Before spending more time on Pegasystems it might be wise to click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling shares.
But note: Pegasystems may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).
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.