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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, the PC Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ:CNXN) share price is up 76% in the last 5 years, clearly besting than the market return of around 50% (ignoring dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 41% in the last year, including dividends.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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 five years of share price growth, PC Connection achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 12% per year. That makes the EPS growth particularly close to the yearly share price growth of 12%. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
The company's earnings per share (over time) is depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
We know that PC Connection has improved its bottom line lately, but is it going to grow revenue? If you're interested, you could check this free report showing consensus revenue forecasts.
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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, PC Connection's TSR for the last 5 years was 89%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that PC Connection shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 41% over one year. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 14% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
But note: PC Connection 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 US exchanges.
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.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at email@example.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. Thank you for reading.