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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But you can do a lot better than that by buying good quality businesses for attractive prices. For example, the HeidelbergCement AG (FRA:HEI) share price is up 14% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. In comparison, the share price is down 14% in a year.
In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. One flawed but reasonable way to assess how sentiment around a company has changed is to compare the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price.
During five years of share price growth, HeidelbergCement achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 12% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 2.7% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days. This cautious sentiment is reflected in its (fairly low) P/E ratio of 11.82.
The image below shows how EPS has tracked over time (if you click on the image you can see greater detail).
We know that HeidelbergCement 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of HeidelbergCement, it has a TSR of 26% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that HeidelbergCement shareholders are down 11% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 7.5%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. Longer term investors wouldn't be so upset, since they would have made 4.8%, each year, over five years. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Before forming an opinion on HeidelbergCement you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
But note: HeidelbergCement 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 DE 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.