The simplest way to invest in stocks is to buy exchange traded funds. But one can do better than that by picking better than average stocks (as part of a diversified portfolio). To wit, the Lloyds Banking Group plc (LON:LLOY) share price is 24% higher than it was a year ago, much better than the market return of around 17% (not including dividends) in the same period. So that should have shareholders smiling. On the other hand, longer term shareholders have had a tougher run, with the stock falling 1.5% in three years.
While the efficient markets hypothesis continues to be taught by some, it has been proven that markets are over-reactive dynamic systems, and investors are not always rational. 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.
Over the last twelve months, Lloyds Banking Group actually shrank its EPS by 52%.
So we don't think that investors are paying too much attention to EPS. Therefore, it seems likely that investors are putting more weight on metrics other than EPS, at the moment.
We note that the most recent dividend payment is higher than the payment a year ago, so that may have assisted the share price. It could be that the company is reaching maturity and dividend investors are buying for the yield, pushing the price up in the process.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
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. So it makes a lot of sense to check out what analysts think Lloyds Banking Group will earn in the future (free profit forecasts).
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 and spin-offs. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, Lloyds Banking Group's TSR for the last year was 32%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
It's good to see that Lloyds Banking Group has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 32% in the last twelve months. That's including the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 1.3% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. In the best case scenario, this may hint at some real business momentum, implying that now could be a great time to delve deeper. Investors who like to make money usually check up on insider purchases, such as the price paid, and total amount bought. You can find out about the insider purchases of Lloyds Banking Group by clicking this link.
Lloyds Banking Group 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 GB exchanges.
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.
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