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Generally speaking the aim of active stock picking is to find companies that provide returns that are superior to the market average. And the truth is, you can make significant gains if you buy good quality businesses at the right price. For example, long term Polar Capital Holdings plc (LON:POLR) shareholders have enjoyed a 80% share price rise over the last half decade, well in excess of the market return of around 15% (not including dividends). However, more recent returns haven't been as impressive as that, with the stock returning just 29% in the last year , including dividends .
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 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).
Over half a decade, Polar Capital Holdings managed to grow its earnings per share at 11% a year. So the EPS growth rate is rather close to the annualized share price gain of 12% per year. Therefore one could conclude that sentiment towards the shares hasn't morphed very much. Rather, the share price has approximately tracked EPS growth.
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. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. This free interactive report on Polar Capital Holdings' earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
What About Dividends?
It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. In the case of Polar Capital Holdings, it has a TSR of 146% 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
It's good to see that Polar Capital Holdings has rewarded shareholders with a total shareholder return of 29% in the last twelve months. And that does include the dividend. Since the one-year TSR is better than the five-year TSR (the latter coming in at 20% per year), it would seem that the stock's performance has improved in recent times. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. 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.
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 GB 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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