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If You Had Bought Primerica (NYSE:PRI) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have Earned 131% Returns

Simply Wall St
·3 min read

When you buy shares in a company, it's worth keeping in mind the possibility that it could fail, and you could lose your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For instance, the price of Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI) stock is up an impressive 131% over the last five years. The last week saw the share price soften some 3.7%.

View our latest analysis for Primerica

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. 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 half a decade, Primerica managed to grow its earnings per share at 21% a year. This EPS growth is reasonably close to the 18% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. In fact, the share price seems to largely reflect the EPS growth.

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

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

This free interactive report on Primerica's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Primerica, it has a TSR of 144% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

Investors in Primerica had a tough year, with a total loss of 11% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 18%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 20% 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. 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. Take risks, for example - Primerica has 2 warning signs we think you should be aware of.

Of course Primerica may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of growth stocks.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team@simplywallst.com.