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Suncorp Group (ASX:SUN) Shareholders Have Enjoyed A 18% Share Price Gain

Simply Wall St

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Low-cost index funds make it easy to achieve average market returns. But in any diversified portfolio of stocks, you'll see some that fall short of the average. Unfortunately for shareholders, while the Suncorp Group Limited (ASX:SUN) share price is up 18% in the last three years, that falls short of the market return. Zooming in, the stock is up just 1.4% in the last year.

See our latest analysis for Suncorp Group

There is no denying that markets are sometimes efficient, but prices do not always reflect underlying business performance. 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 the three years of share price growth, Suncorp Group actually saw its earnings per share (EPS) drop 0.1% per year. Companies are not always focussed on EPS growth in the short term, and looking at how the share price has reacted, we don't think EPS is the most important metric for Suncorp Group at the moment. Since the change in EPS doesn't seem to correlate with the change in share price, it's worth taking a look at other metrics.

Interestingly, the dividend has increased over time; so that may have given the share price a boost. It could be that the company is reaching maturity and dividend investors are buying for the yield.

Depicted in the graphic below, you'll see revenue and earnings over time. If you want more detail, you can click on the chart itself.

ASX:SUN Income Statement, March 28th 2019

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 report showing analyst forecasts should help you form a view on Suncorp Group

What About Dividends?

It is important to consider the total shareholder return, as well as the share price return, for any given stock. 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. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. In the case of Suncorp Group, it has a TSR of 38% for the last 3 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

Suncorp Group shareholders gained a total return of 6.7% during the year. But that return falls short of the market. On the bright side, the longer term returns (running at about 7.3% a year, over half a decade) look better. Maybe the share price is just taking a breather while the business executes on its growth strategy. If you want to research this stock further, the data on insider buying is an obvious place to start. You can click here to see who has been buying shares - and the price they paid.

Suncorp Group is not the only stock insiders are buying. So take a peek at this free list of growing companies with insider buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on AU 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 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. Thank you for reading.