It hasn't been the best quarter for Fastenal Company (NASDAQ:FAST) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 16% in that time. On the other hand the share price is higher than it was three years ago. In that time, it is up 38%, which isn't bad, but not amazing either.
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.
Fastenal was able to grow its EPS at 15% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. The average annual share price increase of 11% is actually lower than the EPS growth. Therefore, it seems the market has moderated its expectations for growth, somewhat.
You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Fastenal's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
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. As it happens, Fastenal's TSR for the last 3 years was 50%, 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 Fastenal has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 8.3% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 8.9% a year, is even better. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.
Fastenal is not the only stock that insiders are buying. 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.
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