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Shareholders Of Watsco (NYSE:WSO) Must Be Happy With Their 51% Return

Simply Wall St

Passive investing in index funds can generate returns that roughly match the overall market. But in our experience, buying the right stocks can give your wealth a significant boost. For example, the Watsco, Inc. (NYSE:WSO) share price is 28% higher than it was five years ago, which is more than the market average. In stark contrast, the stock price has actually fallen 0.6% in the last year.

Check out our latest analysis for Watsco

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 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 five years of share price growth, Watsco achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 7.1% per year. This EPS growth is higher than the 5.1% average annual increase in the share price. Therefore, it seems the market has become relatively pessimistic about the company.

You can see below how EPS has changed over time (discover the exact values by clicking on the image).

NYSE:WSO Past and Future Earnings May 4th 2020

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. It might be well worthwhile taking a look at our free report on Watsco's earnings, revenue and cash flow.

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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Watsco, it has a TSR of 51% for the last 5 years. That exceeds its share price return that we previously mentioned. The dividends paid by the company have thusly boosted the total shareholder return.

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that Watsco shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 3.5% over the last year. That's including the dividend. Having said that, the five-year TSR of 8.6% a year, is even better. Potential buyers might understandably feel they've missed the opportunity, but it's always possible business is still firing on all cylinders. While it is well worth considering the different impacts that market conditions can have on the share price, there are other factors that are even more important. Consider risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 1 warning sign for Watsco you should know about.

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.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. 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.

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. Thank you for reading.