Thanks in no small measure to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, it’s easy buy a low cost index fund, which should provide the average market return. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. For example, the The Bank of Nova Scotia (TSE:BNS) share price is up 22% in the last three years, slightly above the market return. The bad news is that the share price seems to lack positive momentum recently, since it has dropped 7.9% in the last year.
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. One way to examine how market sentiment has changed over time is to look at the interaction between a company’s share price and its earnings per share (EPS).
Bank of Nova Scotia was able to grow its EPS at 5.2% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. This EPS growth is lower than the 6.9% average annual increase in the share price. This suggests that, as the business progressed over the last few years, it gained the confidence of market participants. It’s not unusual to see the market ‘re-rate’ a stock, after a few years of growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
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 Bank of Nova Scotia’s earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Bank of Nova Scotia, it has a TSR of 39% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Bank of Nova Scotia shareholders are down 3.7% for the year (even including dividends), but the market itself is up 4.9%. However, keep in mind that even the best stocks will sometimes underperform the market over a twelve month period. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 7.1% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. 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.
Bank of Nova Scotia is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on CA 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.