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Investing in Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) a year ago would have delivered you a 64% gain

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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But investors can boost returns by picking market-beating companies to own shares in. To wit, the Whitestone REIT (NYSE:WSR) share price is 56% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 27% (not including dividends) in the same period. If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! In contrast, the longer term returns are negative, since the share price is 23% lower than it was three years ago.

So let's investigate and see if the longer term performance of the company has been in line with the underlying business' progress.

View our latest analysis for Whitestone REIT

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.

During the last year, Whitestone REIT actually saw its earnings per share drop 57%.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Indeed, when EPS is declining but the share price is up, it often means the market is considering other factors.

We note that the most recent dividend payment is higher than the payment a year ago, so that may have assisted the share price. Income-seeking investors probably helped bid up the stock price.

The image below shows how earnings and revenue have tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

This free interactive report on Whitestone REIT'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. 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 Whitestone REIT the TSR over the last 1 year was 64%, 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 Whitestone REIT shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 64% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 2%. 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. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 5 warning signs for Whitestone REIT you should be aware of, and 1 of them makes us a bit uncomfortable.

Of course, you might find a fantastic investment by looking elsewhere. So take a peek at this free list of companies we expect will grow earnings.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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.

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