The worst result, after buying shares in a company (assuming no leverage), would be if you lose all the money you put in. But on a lighter note, a good company can see its share price rise well over 100%. For instance, the price of Spirent Communications plc (LON:SPT) stock is up an impressive 172% over the last five years. It's also good to see the share price up 16% over the last quarter.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. 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.
Over half a decade, Spirent Communications managed to grow its earnings per share at 15% a year. This EPS growth is slower than the share price growth of 22% per year, over the same period. This suggests that market participants hold the company in higher regard, these days. And that's hardly shocking given the track record of growth.
You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).
We know that Spirent Communications has improved its bottom line over the last three years, but what does the future have in store? You can see how its balance sheet has strengthened (or weakened) over time in this free interactive graphic.
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 or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. As it happens, Spirent Communications's TSR for the last 5 years was 222%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We're pleased to report that Spirent Communications shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 70% over one year. And that does include the dividend. That's better than the annualised return of 26% over half a decade, implying that the company is doing better recently. Given the share price momentum remains strong, it might be worth taking a closer look at the stock, lest you miss an opportunity. Most investors take the time to check the data on insider transactions. You can click here to see if insiders have been buying or selling.
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.
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.