Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, the Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ:PEBK) share price is up 90% in the last 5 years, clearly besting the market return of around 45% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 3.4% in the last year , including dividends .
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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 five years of share price growth, Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 13% per year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 14% average annual increase in the share price. That suggests that the market sentiment around the company hasn't changed much over that time. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's probably worth noting that the CEO is paid less than the median at similar sized companies. It's always worth keeping an eye on CEO pay, but a more important question is whether the company will grow earnings throughout the years. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina'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). 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina's TSR for the last 5 years was 108%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina shareholders have received returns of 3.4% over twelve months (even including dividends) , which isn't far from the general market return. It has to be noted that the recent return falls short of the 16% shareholders have gained each year, over half a decade. More recently, the share price growth has slowed. But it has to be said the overall picture is one of good long term and short term performance. Arguably that makes Peoples Bancorp of North Carolina a stock worth watching. 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.
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.
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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.