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Can You Imagine How Wilmington's (LON:WIL) Shareholders Feel About The 31% Share Price Increase?

Simply Wall St

If you want to compound wealth in the stock market, you can do so by buying an index fund. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. To wit, the Wilmington plc (LON:WIL) share price is 31% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 12% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 8.2% lower than it was three years ago.

See our latest analysis for Wilmington

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.

Wilmington went from making a loss to reporting a profit, in the last year.

When a company is just on the edge of profitability it can be well worth considering other metrics in order to more precisely gauge growth (and therefore understand share price movements).

Revenue was pretty flat year on year, but maybe a closer look at the data can explain the market optimism.

You can see below how earnings and revenue have changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

LSE:WIL Income Statement, January 21st 2020

We know that Wilmington has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? This free interactive report on Wilmington's balance sheet strength is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Wilmington, it has a TSR of 37% 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 nice to see that Wilmington shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 37% over the last year. That's including the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 6.6%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Wilmington better, we need to consider many other factors. Consider for instance, the ever-present spectre of investment risk. We've identified 1 warning sign with Wilmington , and understanding them should be part of your investment process.

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 GB exchanges.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.