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Investors Who Bought Maple Leaf Foods (TSE:MFI) Shares Five Years Ago Are Now Up 31%

Simply Wall St

While Maple Leaf Foods Inc. (TSE:MFI) shareholders are probably generally happy, the stock hasn't had particularly good run recently, with the share price falling 14% in the last quarter. But at least the stock is up over the last five years. However we are not very impressed because the share price is only up 31%, less than the market return of 37%.

Check out our latest analysis for Maple Leaf Foods

To quote Buffett, 'Ships will sail around the world but the Flat Earth Society will flourish. There will continue to be wide discrepancies between price and value in the marketplace...' 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).

During the last half decade, Maple Leaf Foods became profitable. That would generally be considered a positive, so we'd expect the share price to be up.

You can see how EPS has changed over time in the image below (click on the chart to see the exact values).

TSX:MFI Past and Future Earnings, January 6th 2020

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Maple Leaf Foods's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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, Maple Leaf Foods's TSR for the last 5 years was 42%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

While the broader market gained around 17% in the last year, Maple Leaf Foods shareholders lost 5.2% (even including dividends) . Even the share prices of good stocks drop sometimes, but we want to see improvements in the fundamental metrics of a business, before getting too interested. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 7.2% per year over half a decade. It could be that the recent sell-off is an opportunity, so it may be worth checking the fundamental data for signs of a long term growth trend. It is all well and good that insiders have been buying shares, but we suggest you check here to see what price insiders were buying at.

Maple Leaf Foods 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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.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.

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. Thank you for reading.