These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, the Scentre Group (ASX:SCG) share price is up 21% in the last five years, slightly above the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up just 1.0% in the last year.
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.
Over half a decade, Scentre Group managed to grow its earnings per share at 13% a year. This EPS growth is higher than the 3.8% average annual increase in the share price. So it seems the market isn't so enthusiastic about the stock these days.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
It's good to see that there was some significant insider buying in the last three months. That's a positive. On the other hand, we think the revenue and earnings trends are much more meaningful measures of the business. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Scentre Group'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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Scentre Group, it has a TSR of 56% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Scentre Group provided a TSR of 6.9% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. If we look back over five years, the returns are even better, coming in at 9.4% per year for five years. It may well be that this is a business worth popping on the watching, given the continuing positive reception, over time, from the market. 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.
If you like to buy stocks alongside management, then you might just love this free list of companies. (Hint: insiders have been buying them).
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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.