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Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (NYSE:HASI) jumps 11% this week, though earnings growth is still tracking behind five-year shareholder returns

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If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (NYSE:HASI) share price is 72% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 31% in the last year.

Since it's been a strong week for Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital shareholders, let's have a look at trend of the longer term fundamentals.

Check out our latest analysis for Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital

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 imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During five years of share price growth, Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 12% per year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 11% per year. 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).

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

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..

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 Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, it has a TSR of 116% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

We regret to report that Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital shareholders are down 29% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 12%. Having said that, it's inevitable that some stocks will be oversold in a falling market. The key is to keep your eyes on the fundamental developments. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 17%, each year, over five years. 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. 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. For example, we've discovered 4 warning signs for Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital (2 are significant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure 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.

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

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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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