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There's no doubt that investing in the stock market is a truly brilliant way to build wealth. But if you choose that path, you're going to buy some stocks that fall short of the market. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the National Health Investors, Inc. (NYSE:NHI) share price is up 36% in the last year, that falls short of the market return. However, the stock hasn't done so well in the longer term, with the stock only up 12% in three years.
There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 the last year National Health Investors grew its earnings per share (EPS) by 12%. The share price gain of 36% certainly outpaced the EPS growth. This indicates that the market is now more optimistic about the stock.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover 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. Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here..
What About Dividends?
As well as measuring the share price return, investors should also consider the total shareholder return (TSR). 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. We note that for National Health Investors the TSR over the last year was 45%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
National Health Investors shareholders gained a total return of 45% during the year. But that return falls short of the market. The silver lining is that the gain was actually better than the average annual return of 8% per year over five year. This could indicate that the company is winning over new investors, as it pursues its strategy. I find it very interesting to look at share price over the long term as a proxy for business performance. But to truly gain insight, we need to consider other information, too. Even so, be aware that National Health Investors is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 2 of those are significant...
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 US exchanges.
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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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