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Heartland Group Holdings' (NZSE:HGH) investors will be pleased with their decent 42% return over the last three years

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While Heartland Group Holdings Limited (NZSE:HGH) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 12% in the last quarter. But don't let that distract from the very nice return generated over three years. In the last three years the share price is up, 18%: better than the market.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

See our latest analysis for Heartland Group Holdings

While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. 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 three years of share price growth, Heartland Group Holdings achieved compound earnings per share growth of 7.0% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 6% average annual increase in the share price. So one could reasonably conclude that the market has cooled on the stock.

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

We know that Heartland Group Holdings 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?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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, Heartland Group Holdings' TSR for the last 3 years was 42%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Heartland Group Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 0.9% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. However, that falls short of the 8% TSR per annum it has made for shareholders, each year, over five years. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. 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. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 3 warning signs with Heartland Group Holdings (at least 1 which doesn't sit too well with us) , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

But note: Heartland Group Holdings may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with past earnings growth (and further growth forecast).

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on NZ 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.