The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But if you pick the right business to buy shares in, you can make more than you can lose. For example, the Shutterstock, Inc. (NYSE:SSTK) share price had more than doubled in just one year - up 159%. Looking back further, the stock price is 88% higher than it was three years ago.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company's share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
During the last year Shutterstock saw its earnings per share (EPS) increase strongly. While that particular rate of growth is unlikely to be sustained for long, it is still remarkable. So we're unsurprised to see the share price gaining ground. To us, inflection points like this are the best time to take a close look at a stock.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that Shutterstock has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? This free report showing analyst revenue forecasts should help you figure out if the EPS growth can be sustained.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). The TSR incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Shutterstock, it has a TSR of 162% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's nice to see that Shutterstock shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 162% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 17% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that Shutterstock is showing 1 warning sign in our investment analysis , you should know about...
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
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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