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If You Had Bought Western Asset Mortgage Capital (NYSE:WMC) Shares Five Years Ago You'd Have A Total Return Of 50%

Simply Wall St

While it may not be enough for some shareholders, we think it is good to see the Western Asset Mortgage Capital Corporation (NYSE:WMC) share price up 12% in a single quarter. But if you look at the last five years the returns have not been good. In fact, the share price is down 29%, which falls well short of the return you could get by buying an index fund.

See our latest analysis for Western Asset Mortgage Capital

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect 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.

During five years of share price growth, Western Asset Mortgage Capital moved from a loss to profitability. That would generally be considered a positive, so we are surprised to see the share price is down. Other metrics may better explain the share price move.

We note that the dividend has fallen in the last five years, so that may have contributed to the share price decline.

Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.

NYSE:WMC Income Statement, April 18th 2019

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Western Asset Mortgage Capital

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. We note that for Western Asset Mortgage Capital the TSR over the last 5 years was 50%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Western Asset Mortgage Capital shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 21% over the last year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 8.4% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Western Asset Mortgage Capital by clicking this link.

Western Asset Mortgage Capital is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

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 editorial-team@simplywallst.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.