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Can You Imagine How Jubilant Interpublic Group of Companies' (NYSE:IPG) Shareholders Feel About Its 102% Share Price Gain?

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Unfortunately, investing is risky - companies can and do go bankrupt. On the other hand, if you find a high quality business to buy (at the right price) you can more than double your money! Take, for example The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE:IPG). Its share price is already up an impressive 102% in the last twelve months. It's also good to see the share price up 28% over the last quarter. The company reported its financial results recently; you can catch up on the latest numbers by reading our company report. Also impressive, the stock is up 36% over three years, making long term shareholders happy, too.

See our latest analysis for Interpublic Group of Companies

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 the last year, Interpublic Group of Companies actually saw its earnings per share drop 35%.

So we don't think that investors are paying too much attention to EPS. Therefore, it seems likely that investors are putting more weight on metrics other than EPS, at the moment.

Unfortunately Interpublic Group of Companies' fell 5.5% over twelve months. So the fundamental metrics don't provide an obvious explanation for the share price gain.

The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

Balance sheet strength is crucial. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on how its financial position has changed over time.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Interpublic Group of Companies, it has a TSR of 112% for the last year. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!

A Different Perspective

It's good to see that Interpublic Group of Companies has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 112% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 11% 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. 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. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for Interpublic Group of Companies you should be aware of.

If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).

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 (at) simplywallst.com.