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Thanks in no small measure to Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, it's easy buy a low cost index fund, which should provide the average market return. But if you pick the right individual stocks, you could make more than that. To wit, Life Storage, Inc. (NYSE:LSI) shares are up 61% in three years, besting the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up a respectable 11% in the last year.
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).
During three years of share price growth, Life Storage achieved compound earnings per share growth of 18% per year. This EPS growth is remarkably close to the 17% average annual increase in the share price. This observation indicates that the market's attitude to the business hasn't changed all that much. Au contraire, the share price change has arguably mimicked the EPS growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Even so, future earnings will be far more important to whether current shareholders make money. This free interactive report on Life Storage's earnings, revenue and cash flow is a great place to start, if you want to investigate the stock further.
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 is a return calculation that accounts for the value of cash dividends (assuming that any dividend received was reinvested) and the calculated value of any discounted capital raisings and spin-offs. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. In the case of Life Storage, it has a TSR of 82% for the last 3 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Life Storage shareholders are up 15% for the year (even including dividends). But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, that's still a gain, and it's actually better than the average return of 9% over half a decade This suggests the company might be improving over time. It's always interesting to track share price performance over the longer term. But to understand Life Storage better, we need to consider many other factors. For instance, we've identified 4 warning signs for Life Storage (1 doesn't sit too well with us) that you should be aware of.
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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