Stock pickers are generally looking for stocks that will outperform the broader market. Buying under-rated businesses is one path to excess returns. For example, long term WSFS Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:WSFS) shareholders have enjoyed a 74% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 42% (not including dividends).
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 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 five years of share price growth, WSFS Financial achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 20% per year. The EPS growth is more impressive than the yearly share price gain of 12% over the same period. So it seems the market isn’t so enthusiastic about the stock these days. The reasonably low P/E ratio of 9.62 also suggests market apprehension.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
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. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of WSFS Financial’s earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. As it happens, WSFS Financial’s TSR for the last 5 years was 80%, 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 3.9% in the last year, WSFS Financial shareholders lost 18% (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. Longer term investors wouldn’t be so upset, since they would have made 13%, 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. 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.
There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US 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.