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Shareholders Of Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN) Must Be Happy With Their 143% Total Return

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The most you can lose on any stock (assuming you don't use leverage) is 100% of your money. But on the bright side, if you buy shares in a high quality company at the right price, you can gain well over 100%. For example, the The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ:WEN) share price has soared 120% in the last half decade. Most would be very happy with that. The last week saw the share price soften some 1.3%.

Check out our latest analysis for Wendy's

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.

During five years of share price growth, Wendy's achieved compound earnings per share (EPS) growth of 6.2% per year. This EPS growth is lower than the 17% average annual increase in the share price. 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).

earnings-per-share-growth
earnings-per-share-growth

It's probably worth noting we've seen significant insider buying in the last quarter, which we consider a positive. That said, we think earnings and revenue growth trends are even more important factors to consider. Dive deeper into the earnings by checking this interactive graph of Wendy'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. 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. So for companies that pay a generous dividend, the TSR is often a lot higher than the share price return. In the case of Wendy's, it has a TSR of 143% 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

Wendy's provided a TSR of 10% over the last twelve months. But that was short of the market average. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 19% a year, over half a decade) look better. It's quite possible the business continues to execute with prowess, even as the share price gains are slowing. 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. Like risks, for instance. Every company has them, and we've spotted 2 warning signs for Wendy's (of which 1 makes us a bit uncomfortable!) you should know about.

Wendy's is not the only stock that insiders are buying. For those who like to find winning investments this free list of growing companies with recent insider purchasing, could be just the ticket.

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.

Have feedback on this article? Concerned about the content? Get in touch with us directly. Alternatively, email editorial-team (at) simplywallst.com.