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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. On the other hand, if you find a high quality business to buy (at the right price) you can more than double your money! For example, the LSI Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:LYTS) share price has soared 121% in the last year. Most would be very happy with that, especially in just one year! The last week saw the share price soften some 1.7%. However, the longer term returns haven't been so impressive, with the stock up just 6.0% in the last three years.
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. 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 the last year LSI Industries grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 89%. The share price gain of 121% certainly outpaced the EPS growth. So it's fair to assume the market has a higher opinion of the business than it a year ago.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It is of course excellent to see how LSI Industries has grown profits over the years, but the future is more important for shareholders. This free interactive report on LSI Industries' balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for LSI Industries the TSR over the last year was 127%, 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
We're pleased to report that LSI Industries shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 127% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That certainly beats the loss of about 3% per year over the last half decade. We generally put more weight on the long term performance over the short term, but the recent improvement could hint at a (positive) inflection point within the business. 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 3 warning signs for LSI Industries that you should be aware of before investing here.
For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.
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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