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Investing in Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL) three years ago would have delivered you a 136% gain

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It hasn't been the best quarter for Western Alliance Bancorporation (NYSE:WAL) shareholders, since the share price has fallen 14% in that time. In contrast, the return over three years has been impressive. The share price marched upwards over that time, and is now 125% higher than it was. To some, the recent share price pullback wouldn't be surprising after such a good run. If the business can perform well for years to come, then the recent drop could be an opportunity.

With that in mind, it's worth seeing if the company's underlying fundamentals have been the driver of long term performance, or if there are some discrepancies.

View our latest analysis for Western Alliance Bancorporation

To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.

Western Alliance Bancorporation was able to grow its EPS at 27% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. We note that the 31% yearly (average) share price gain isn't too far from the EPS growth rate. Coincidence? Probably not. This suggests that sentiment and expectations have not changed drastically. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.

The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. This free interactive report on Western Alliance Bancorporation's earnings, revenue and cash flow 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. We note that for Western Alliance Bancorporation the TSR over the last 3 years was 136%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

We're pleased to report that Western Alliance Bancorporation shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 36% 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 15% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 2 warning signs for Western Alliance Bancorporation (1 is a bit unpleasant!) that you should be aware of before investing here.

Western Alliance Bancorporation 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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.