By buying an index fund, you can roughly match the market return with ease. But if you choose individual stocks with prowess, you can make superior returns. For example, Singapore Shipping Corporation Limited (SGX:S19) shareholders have seen the share price rise 22% over three years, well in excess of the market return (6.9%, not including dividends). On the other hand, the returns haven't been quite so good recently, with shareholders up just 7.1% , including dividends .
While markets are a powerful pricing mechanism, share prices reflect investor sentiment, not just underlying business performance. By comparing earnings per share (EPS) and share price changes over time, we can get a feel for how investor attitudes to a company have morphed over time.
Singapore Shipping was able to grow its EPS at 8.0% per year over three years, sending the share price higher. We note that the 7.0% yearly (average) share price gain isn't too far from the EPS growth rate. Coincidence? Probably not. This suggests that sentiment and expectations have not changed drastically. 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).
Before buying or selling a stock, we always recommend a close examination of historic growth trends, available here.
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. As it happens, Singapore Shipping's TSR for the last 3 years was 36%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!
A Different Perspective
Singapore Shipping shareholders gained a total return of 7.1% during the year. 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 4.9% over half a decade It is possible that returns will improve along with the business fundamentals. Before forming an opinion on Singapore Shipping you might want to consider the cold hard cash it pays as a dividend. This free chart tracks its dividend over time.
If you would prefer to check out another company -- one with potentially superior financials -- then do not miss this free list of companies that have proven they can grow earnings.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on SG exchanges.
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.
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.