The main aim of stock picking is to find the market-beating stocks. But in any portfolio, there will be mixed results between individual stocks. At this point some shareholders may be questioning their investment in Telstra Corporation Limited (ASX:TLS), since the last five years saw the share price fall 32%. On the other hand, we note it's up 9.7% in about a month.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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.
Looking back five years, both Telstra's share price and EPS declined; the latter at a rate of 13% per year. The share price decline of 7.4% per year isn't as bad as the EPS decline. So the market may previously have expected a drop, or else it expects the situation will improve.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
We like that insiders have been buying shares in the last twelve months. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. We note that for Telstra the TSR over the last 5 years was -8.4%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Telstra shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 38% over one year. Of course, that includes the dividend. There's no doubt those recent returns are much better than the TSR loss of 1.7% per year over five years. 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. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU exchanges.
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.
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.