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Those who invested in CTO Realty Growth (NYSE:CTO) a year ago are up 32%

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These days it's easy to simply buy an index fund, and your returns should (roughly) match the market. But you can significantly boost your returns by picking above-average stocks. For example, the CTO Realty Growth, Inc. (NYSE:CTO) share price is up 23% in the last 1 year, clearly besting the market decline of around 11% (not including dividends). If it can keep that out-performance up over the long term, investors will do very well! Having said that, the longer term returns aren't so impressive, with stock gaining just 7.5% in three years.

Let's take a look at the underlying fundamentals over the longer term, and see if they've been consistent with shareholders returns.

See our latest analysis for CTO Realty Growth

In his essay The Superinvestors of Graham-and-Doddsville Warren Buffett described how share prices do not always rationally reflect the value of a business. 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.

Over the last twelve months, CTO Realty Growth actually shrank its EPS by 84%.

This means it's unlikely the market is judging the company based on earnings growth. Indeed, when EPS is declining but the share price is up, it often means the market is considering other factors.

Absent any improvement, we don't think a thirst for dividends is pushing up the CTO Realty Growth's share price. Rather, we'd posit that the revenue increase of 25% might be more meaningful. Revenue growth often does precede earnings growth, so some investors might be willing to forgo profits today because they have their eyes fixed firmly on the future.

The graphic below depicts how earnings and revenue have changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).

earnings-and-revenue-growth
earnings-and-revenue-growth

We consider it positive that insiders have made significant purchases in the last year. Having said that, most people consider earnings and revenue growth trends to be a more meaningful guide to the business. So we recommend checking out this free report showing consensus forecasts

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 incorporates the value of any spin-offs or discounted capital raisings, along with any dividends, based on the assumption that the dividends are reinvested. Arguably, the TSR gives a more comprehensive picture of the return generated by a stock. As it happens, CTO Realty Growth's TSR for the last 1 year was 32%, which exceeds the share price return mentioned earlier. This is largely a result of its dividend payments!

A Different Perspective

It's nice to see that CTO Realty Growth shareholders have received a total shareholder return of 32% over the last year. Of course, that includes the dividend. That gain is better than the annual TSR over five years, which is 6%. Therefore it seems like sentiment around the company has been positive lately. Someone with an optimistic perspective could view the recent improvement in TSR as indicating that the business itself is getting better with time. 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 6 warning signs for CTO Realty Growth (of which 2 are a bit unpleasant!) you should know about.

There are plenty of other companies that have insiders buying up shares. You probably do not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.

Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on US exchanges.

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

This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. We provide commentary based on historical data and analyst forecasts only using an unbiased methodology and our articles are not intended to be financial advice. 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.