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When you buy and hold a stock for the long term, you definitely want it to provide a positive return. But more than that, you probably want to see it rise more than the market average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Agree Realty Corporation (NYSE:ADC) share price is up 73% in the last five years, that's less than the market return. Zooming in, the stock is actually down 16% in the last year.
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, Agree Realty actually saw its EPS drop 2.9% per year.
So it's hard to argue that the earnings per share are the best metric to judge the company, as it may not be optimized for profits at this point. Therefore, it's worth taking a look at other metrics to try to understand the share price movements.
In contrast revenue growth of 24% per year is probably viewed as evidence that Agree Realty is growing, a real positive. In that case, the company may be sacrificing current earnings per share to drive growth.
The company's revenue and earnings (over time) are depicted in the image below (click to see the exact numbers).
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. You can see what analysts are predicting for Agree Realty in this interactive graph of future profit estimates.
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. As it happens, Agree Realty's TSR for the last 5 years was 111%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Investors in Agree Realty had a tough year, with a total loss of 12% (including dividends), against a market gain of about 31%. 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 16% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Agree Realty better, we need to consider many other factors. Even so, be aware that Agree Realty is showing 3 warning signs in our investment analysis , and 1 of those makes us a bit uncomfortable...
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.
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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